We know it’s always said, but this New Year holds some exciting developments in the technology world; from robots, to artificial intelligence, IOT, 3D printing and online developments!

Let’s get started:

Top 5 trends that manufacturers should look out for in 2018.

1. Robots

Otherwise known as Cobots (Collaborative Robots). There’s been a lot of panic and scare over computerised systems taking over the working world and leaving us mere mortals with nothing but scraps to fight over.

Whilst they may be able to eliminate humdrum tasks and jobs, they will also create new and different jobs — close to 15 million over the next decade, according to Forrester Research estimates. To look at this in a less technophobic style, these collaborative robots actually offer the possibility of progression for those stuck in repetitive jobs that can otherwise be completed by a ‘Cobot’.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Previously a term only heard of in sci-fi films, AI is now becoming integrated into businesses in all sectors & even our homes.

We have seen the likes of IBM Watson, SAP Leonardo, Salesforce Einstein and other major software companies all launching embedded AI right into their platforms. Though the trends of AI for recreational use may grow to become a forgotten trend, its stake in business markets is not only here to stay, it’s due to completely explode the way in which businesses work…and we’re excited to see whats to come; even if it is an AI takeover.

Pull up a seat because AI is set to make waves in the new year!

3. IoT

The Internet of Things or Industry 4.0 as it’s called when referring to manufacturing production. At its core, IoT is simple: it’s about connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other.

IoT is a computer learning system that works with your manufacturing process to generally increase productivity and identify faults before they happen. German industry leaders call it the fourth industrial revolution.

4. Digital transformation

This is manifesting in various ways. Firstly, industries are feeling the pressure of hiring younger talent to integrate into their teams and support their digital transition. According to Engineering UK, the demand for graduates for engineering roles massively outstrips supply: we conclude from the report, a shortfall of at least 20,000 annually (and likely higher, depending on assumptions).

If you’re one of the many companies looking to encourage young talent into your business, or inspire future engineers of the world, you’re going to want to shake up your online presence.  You’re not just working to attract sales and investors, you’re looking to promote the industry!

The younger engineers who are in the industry now have an impact on the decision-making process and we’re approaching a generational cliff-edge within manufacturing. Younger engineers trust LinkedIn and social media ever more as an authoritative place to get their information. Due to this increased reliance and trust around companies that are active online, people are moving away from wanting to read long online articles and towards bite sized chunks of information packaged in the formats such as video.

This has big implications for manufacturing companies in the way that they market themselves.

Only 25% of engineers want to engage with a company at the start of their decision-making process, they want to do their own research first. Manufacturing Ambassador for CIM Yorkshire, Dave Pannell states, “In the industrial sector, a potential customer is now more likely to first encounter your company digitally.  When someone visits your website you only have three seconds to convince them of your capability, give them confidence to consider you as a supplier and direct them to the information they are looking for before they hit the back button.

“With more and more younger engineers becoming decision-makers, buying behaviour is changing – and if you are still looking for sales like you did ten or fifteen years ago, the majority of your marketplace may be invisible to you.”

5. 3D printing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, refers to processes used to create a three-dimensional object in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. 3D printing is making waves for manufacturers as they’re now able to more efficiently prove concepts, create prototypes and even flexible end products. According to 3rd Annual State of 3D Printing report, 90% of companies using 3D Printing consider it a competitive advantage in their strategy. 72% predict their spending on additive manufacturing will increase in 2018.

This technology takeover in the industrial world is in full swing. 2018 will bring forward more possibilities that we once only thought possible on our cinema screens…so, what’s the next biggest development going to be?

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