How AI Revolutionizes Industrial Sector
5 am. The warehouse in Tokyo is about to start the working day with a plan to ship tons of goods to different parts of the world: United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy…
A yellow-red robot arm is moving towards the cargo to lift boxes and load them on the ship moving forward and backwards without the hint of fatigue or loss of productivity. Thousands of its colleagues are working on the plant as a single organism. They do not need salaries, meal or rest. The perfect combination of innovative software and quality hardware converts robots from useless steal accessories into ideal warehouse workers. The primary goal behind robotization is complete automation of manufacturing processes that eliminates the need for manual or even human work.
In the 21st century, everything is simple. People do not need to bother their heads with constructing complex mechanisms. Robots build themselves, test themselves and control themselves. Humanless factories have become the dominant trend in the age of artificial intelligence. While a half of century ago robotized plants could be seen only in science fiction movies, now it is a reality! Modern employees are equipped with a wide range of tools to streamline business operations and maintain high-level efficiency in the enterprise. Improved quality, high security standards, and enhanced data management are just a few of the implications brought by AI-powered tools and robotics into the industrial sector.
Artificial intelligence products have been represented on the manufacturing market by a set of hardware and software solutions, such as deep learning, computer vision, context awareness and natural language processing, application, industry and geography. It is expected that the growing need for big data management will drive the increasing application of AI in the industrial sector and result in the appearance of new tools and technologies.According to market research artificial intelligence in manufacturing is expected to be valued at USD 1.03 billion in 2018 and is likely to reach USD 17.22 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 49.5% during the forecast period.
Want to know how AI can help to streamline the manufacturing process and increase revenue? Here are 4 major ways you can use AI to progress on the market.
1. Completely automated manufacturing. A humanless factory is no longer a surprise to progressive entrepreneurs and investors, who keep track of all the trends. Your employees do not meet targets? Workers are constantly overloaded, and you lack the qualified staff to perform the job? Probably, you should consider making automation your primary priority. JD.com, a Shanghai first fully humanless warehouse, is run by a sophisticated AI system that manages all processes at a plant. Five robots have the capacity to substitute 400-500 motivated human workers. Such investment is appealing to manufacturing executives as one-off pay for several AI-powered mechanisms can deprive them of all the pain points:
- No need to pay salaries to workers;
- No need to motivate and coach them;
- No need to invest in training and recruitment;
- No need to cope with high turnover
And all other “needs” just disappear!
However, while striving to build complete automation, take into consideration the company’s image and reputation in society. If you run a well-known corporation, you might face resistance from employees, partners and customers. Absolute automation equals redundancies. For instance, robotization efforts in DAVOS, which is a Swiss tech and services firm, killed 17 000 job places. This step evoked dissatisfaction among the public and resulted in numerous protests. Nevertheless, the company found an excellent solution in a crisis. They had enough resources to reposition and retain those people. Researchers state robots, automation, and AI will replace 5 million human jobs by 2020 in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. What can we learn from this case? Before stepping on the path of complete automation, think of risks and threats hovering behind your back!
2.Generative design. AI is currently applied in a revolutionary process of generative design. It works through close collaboration of designers and engineers: you input design goals together with the budget and requirements to materials and manufacturing methods. Smart software analyzes all possible options and comes up with design alternatives, which can be used to resolve a given problem. This tool uses machine learning to produce a custom result that best aligns with your needs and requirements.
Generative design received its broadest application in automobile industry. General Motors applied an AI-powered tool to redesign the seat belt bracket with an aim to reduce the number of parts in manufacturing a vehicle. This change brought millions in savings and made the assembling process less resource and time-consuming.
3.Chatbots as a brand-new customer service. A chatbot is a mandatory component of any company that offers a product or service to its clients. Smart digital assistants are here to help you whenever you access a web resource. Manufacturing executives found the way to streamline supply and inventory management with the help of customized chatbots. An AI-based query system lets employees submit their questions using a standard set of patterns. For instance, “How many products can we produce with existing materials and resources”. The system quickly reflects to the request with exact numbers and analytics. This feature is useful when sales managers close a big deal or submit a large order.
According to Grand View Research Center, the application of chatbots will soar in the nearest 6-7 years. Retail will remain the main industry to use chatbots with an aim to enhance customer service and automate a set of business processes, such as order processing, inventory management or feedback analysis. However, this technology has a bigger potential and can be successfully applied in other industries. Travel and tourism is the second field that is likely to embrace innovation and use chatbots to perform a range of tasks including sales, communication with clients, sending reminders, etc.
U.S. Chatbot Market by Vertical, 2014 – 2025 (USD Million)
4.Digital Twins. Digital twins are virtual duplicates of physical products, services and processes. They are applied to test systems, spot inefficiencies and address risks even before they occur on the plant or factory. Such tools come in handy when you need to reduce downtime, boost productivity or develop a precise forecast. They have the ability to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT), but require the combination of machine learning and AI to mirror processes effectively and accurately.
In manufacturing, digital twins are applied to manage the process remotely. Sensors attached to the equipment to gather data on the productivity and efficiency of the system, send this information to a cloud platform and analyze it using machine learning. Digital twins enable you to monitor the assembling line from distance and introduce improvements to the processes before problems occur.
What to expect in the future?
AI is prone to remain a top buzzword in business and penetrate into many industries in the next 5-7 years. More tools will appear and bring new technologies to the market that will streamline all business operations. Consequently, the market value will grow resulting in greater automation and a higher level of innovativeness.
For manufacturing executives, the need to digitize processes will grow. This transformation tends to positively affect the revenue and productivity of plants and factories. At the same time, increased application of AI in the industrial section will bring new challenges, the need to reposition staff or absence of efficient control tools. So, before jumping into automation, think one step ahead and be ready to address challenges with a well-thought-out plan