Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has impacted many different industries and areas of business.  From healthcare to architecture, we have seen AI make improvements to internal processes, customer interactions, product design, development, in our personal lives and many other areas. In previous blogs, we’ve discussed these improvements in industries such as agriculture and architecture; for this blog, we want to discuss an industry where AI has significantly altered the way processes are completed: Manufacturing.

While many think of AI as a futuristic concept, AI has been involved in the manufacturing industry for a long time, beginning with the development of early robotics.  Since early robotics developments, of course, AI has come a long way. Here are a few of the major ways AI is impacting the manufacturing industry today.

Generative Design

Design is an area where AI has provided major innovative changes and improvements.  The way we design products has evolved from methods such as constructing blueprints and models to using AI algorithms that can be entered into software programs.  Generative design is broken down into a process where engineers and designers set the parameters for the design.  The parameters consist of the materials to be used, methods of manufacturing, and any cost, budget, or time limitations.  After the information is entered into the generative design software, the software’s algorithm will develop and generate different design options that fit within the entered parameters.

Increase Accuracy & Productivity

AI also proves to be a much more accurate and productive process when compared to those of the past.  Prior to the development of AI, a large portion of the manufacturing process was reliant on the human eye.  While many inspectors involved in the manufacturing process are well trained to find any errors, the use of AI has offered major improvements and significantly reduced the possibility of human error.  Machine-vision tools use highly sensitive camera technology that is not only able to spot errors beyond human recognition but also registers the information and sends an automated alert identifying the issue.  This ultimately improves the accuracy in which products are developed, and also increases productivity by avoiding human error.

Improved Maintenance Measures

In most manufacturing processes, regardless of the product, multiple machines and robotics are generally under consistent use.  With the use of AI, companies can improve their maintenance measures by addressing them on a predictive scale, rather than a preventative one.  Meaning, machines can use AI technology to report their working condition on a regular basis; thus avoiding a large amount of downtime if a machine issue needs to be resolved.  Rather than waiting until a machine stops working or has an issue, the reporting processes recognize issues early on and rectify them before they cause further problems.