Industry Week has identified three megatrends in manufacturing that will affect us all in the near future.
Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, cabinet-free servos, nanotechnology, collaborative robots, virtual reality — and much, much more. We’re seeing an explosion of disruptive technology in manufacturing.
It’s exciting, but it’s also a threat to businesses, workers, and perhaps entire industries. Security issues threaten, jobs are in danger, and unforeseen consequences are bound to be popping up soon. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we can expect a wild ride.
Predictive maintenance will be a boon to manufacturers, fueled by machines that know they’re about to need service and let us know, too. Our coffee machines tell us when they need descaling and our printers order ink for themselves before they run out, so there’s no reason to think that industrial machinery won’t be able to take an active part in maintenance.
Rexroth uses an IoT Cloud to facilitate communication all along the supply chain, and other companies will be following suit. Information can be shared more freely than ever before, and there is every reason to expect that this will empower even more new technologies.
As the last generation of skilled manufacturing workers retires, the next generation is failing to step up into industrial careers. Only 37% of parents of Millennials would encourage their kids to consider manufacturing careers, Industry Week reports, and new college graduates are taking degrees in business and social sciences, not in engineering.
U.S. manufacturers will have to figure out ways to appeal to younger workers, female workers, and other potential employees outside of the traditional job pool. This will probably also mean that industrial employers will have to invest in training. Rexroth’s European roots have led them to innovative approaches to apprenticeships and training in schools and beyond. American industry would be wise to learn from Rexroth’s success. Collaboration among government, industry, and educators will be a requirement if American industry is not to be scuttled by changing demographics.
While you’re contemplating the future, be sure to contact us if you need help with your Rexroth motion control today — whether those machines are from the past or the present. You can be confident that we’ll be with you in the future as well.