Manufacturing is often seen as a ‘poster child’ for technology such as artificial intelligence (AI)—but is manufacturing a smart industry on the whole? Globally, the image of robots making things and the broad uptake of AI is not really a reflection of our industry. The reality is most manufacturers are small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with staffs smaller than 500 employees and less than $200 million in turnover. Moreover, their uptake of AI and smart technologies is often very low. At TilliT, we’ve found that up to 90% of SME manufacturers are still capturing information on paper (such as production metrics, maintenance or quality checks) making the goal of ‘lights out manufacturing’ a distant prospect. On top of that, 75% of the global manufacturing asset base is disconnected—there’s currently no AI, no cloud analytics, and no smart Internet of Things (IoT) sensors analyzing the behavior of this equipment. Essentially, they just have a machine that is isolated carrying out production processes without anything smart happening. So, these companies simply aren’t set up with an appropriate technology foundation, and they don’t see themselves reflected in movement towards these advanced approaches. This is where the concept of smart manufacturing can help bridge that gap.
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Advanced Manufacturing International (AMI) has been awarded a $2M grant