Manufacturers have become more innovative in so many ways, such as in the use of technology, the development of processes and services, the enhancement of existing products, and the utilization of modern business models. Technology plays a significant role in driving innovation in the manufacturing industry, allowing manufacturers to speed up their processes and create higher-quality goods at lower costs. Generally, it has helped them become more efficient and more competitive.
The engineers and innovators who embrace technologies and discover ways to improve upon existing ones can fulfill unmet needs in untapped markets. This article will show you innovations that have significantly impacted the manufacturing industry and improved production processes.
Reciprocating compressors are at the heart of most industrial processes, and they are renowned for their high capacity at discharging and handling pressure. They compress gas with pistons and deliver the compressed gas where needed. The compressor components, such as the cylinder, piston, and valve, are designed to make it easy for high-volume compression to take place hitch-free. Basically, this technology works by receiving gas through the intake valves and passing them into the cylinder immediately after the piston draws back.
The gas is then expelled through the exhaust valve at high pressure when the piston returns to its initial position. The pistons are operated by suitable rotary power sources such as electric motors or petrol-powered crankshafts. Pistons are usually paired on opposite sides so that their movements are opposite one another. With the newer models of piston systems that run in a cooler manner, manufacturers are able to overcome the challenge of overheating that usually comes with regular piston systems.
Some of the advantages of using a reciprocating compressor in production are flexibility, higher efficiency, and higher pressure generation. For instance, in the oil and gas industry, they have a significant advantage over centrifugal or rotary compressors, especially in handling high-capacity swings and high-discharge pressures. These equipment are not only used in production processes but also in other industries. In medical facilities, they are used in producing contaminant-free air for circulation with just the right level of pressure.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the process of enhancing industrial and manufacturing processes using actuators and smart sensors. IIoT is pivotal to processes like asset tracking, energy management, enhanced field service, and Predictive Maintenance (PddM) in industries. The main idea behind IIoT is that smart machines can efficiently capture and analyze data in real-time, much better than humans.
Also, they can effectively communicate crucial information to be used in driving business decisions faster and with more accuracy. With real-time analytics and smart machines, manufacturers are able to leverage the data generated by machines in industrial settings. The connected actuators and sensors enable manufacturers to detect inefficiencies on time and save money in the process.
To understand how the IIoT works, visualize a network of highly intelligent tech devices connected to form systems that can exchange, analyze, monitor, and collect data. The ecosystem of this innovation brings together the private and public data communication infrastructure and utilizes analytics to generate essential business and manufacturing information from raw data.
Additive manufacturing, also called additive layer manufacturing (ALM), is another name for 3D printing. It is a controlled process involving the depositing of materials, typically in layers, to create three-dimensional objects. In contrast to traditional manufacturing, this innovation allows for the creation of various types of objects with precise geometric shapes. Additive manufacturing offers numerous benefits, one of them being sustainability.
Unlike traditional manufacturing, additive manufacturing generates minimal waste and significantly reduces the raw materials in use because only the needed amount of material is added. Furthermore, the design quality of this technology is impeccable. It offers design freedom and creates parts with more complex details with greater efficiency. Manufacturers enjoy better customizability since they can produce small quantities of differentiated products affordably. And there is less spending on production and supply chain since more parts can be produced within a few hours in the desired quantity.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality changes how we interact and connect in manufacturing. It is a combination of audio-visual and digital elements that help us connect the digital and real worlds and see an enhanced version of everything around us. It should not be mistaken for virtual reality (VR). While VR disengages the user from the real world by blocking their sense of true reality, AR takes a different approach. It puts the two side-by-side. It enhances manufacturing capabilities by integrating a new reality with an existing one.