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Manufacturing Technology Roadmap

New emerging manufacturing models and cultures are driving the need to find new ways of operating. Striking a balance between the need for faster, lower cost and shorter cycle times and the demand for ever increasing quality is proving a key challenge to market sustainability.

In the future, Manufacturing will rely more on business intellingence programs to:

  • Convert information and materials into useful products
  • Enhance production processes
  • Drive creativity and innovation

This is driving manufacturers towards models that are knowledge-based, dynamic, fluid, and globally distributed.

Networking Global Manufacturing Swarms

Globally disperse production with small units across the globe working collectively is driving manufacturing ‘swarms’. Whilst this model causes issues in logistics and supply chains, efficiencies are increased and the resulting agility and robustness supports effective production.

Knowledge Transfer

Transfer of knowledge from an aging workforce to newer generations that struggle with simple literacy is a growing problem in maintaining productivity. Focus on ergonomic and workforce flexibility is becoming key to corporate longevity.


Future Technologies

Key technologies for the future of manufacturing include:

Design and Development

  • Interoperability/interoperability standards
  • Global collaborative capabilities
  • Modeling and simulation technology
  • Software to enhance moving from ideas to products


  • Pervasive and adaptive process control
  • Operational BI - incorporation of intelligence into processes and products
  • Global collaborative capabilities
  • Enterprise-wide supply network management
  • Security and other protection systems

Innovation & Learning

  • Advanced learning technology
  • Global collaborative capabilities
  • Knowledge management and navigation tools
  • Wireless and remote communication

This combination of business intelligence and globalization has the potential to foster widespread outsourcing of manufacturing activities, and the emergence of completely new industrial sectors devoted to the production and implementation of these systems.


IT Architecture and Planning

Like many businesses, the IT infrastructure of manufacturing evolves as the business evolves. New business infrastructures demand new IT infrastructures. Todays manufacturing infrastructure is very much about learning, supply network management and agility. The supporting IT infrastructure ensures collaboration, modeling, process control, interoperability and ‘design-to-manufacturing’ capabilities. This needs to operate in a realm constrained by regulations, standards and security.

This integrated architecture is critical to improving manufacturing performance, therefore it is imperative that a defined architecture/plan is developed. Failure to do so will likely result in failure to meet functional requirements, redundancy, poor connectivity, random and useless capabilities, and lack of cohesion in product design.

A clear focus on architecture and function is the best way to ensure extensibility and scalability to meet both current and future needs.

Fortunately, emerging manufacturing technologies and capabilities are helping to address many of these issues and are also creating new opportunities.

Next: Business Solutions To Manufacturing Issues

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