AI in Business: Episode #7: AI in Manufacturing
As AI slowly becomes more ubiquitous in our lives, businesses are starting to explore the ways it can be used to boost productivity and efficiency. In particular, there is a lot of potential for AI in the manufacturing sector.
Why we need AI in manufacturing?
There is a growing demand for AI in manufacturing due to the many challenges and opportunities associated with modern manufacturing processes. Manufacturing is a highly volatile, fast-paced industry characterized by high levels of revenue volatility, cost pressures, and rapid production times. In order to keep pace with these demanding conditions, manufacturers must continuously find new cost savings and efficiencies, adapt quickly to changing market demands, and meet ever-increasing regulatory requirements and inspections.
One of the most promising tools for addressing these challenges is artificial intelligence (AI).
What are the key benefits of using AI in manufacturing?
There are many potential benefits of using AI in manufacturing, including:
#1. Improved quality control
One of the key benefits of using AI in manufacturing is improved quality control. By using sensors and cameras to monitor production lines, AI can identify defects in products and alert human workers to fix the issue.
#2. Increased efficiency
Another benefit of using AI in manufacturing is increased efficiency. By automating tasks such as material handling and machine monitoring, AI can help factories to run more smoothly and efficiently.
#3. Improved safety
Another key benefit of using AI in manufacturing is improved safety. By automating tasks that are dangerous or physically demanding, AI can help to protect human workers from injury.
#4. Greater flexibility
Another benefit of using AI in manufacturing is greater flexibility. Unlike humans, robots can work around the clock without breaks, meaning that they can rapidly adapt to changes in demand.
#5. Enhanced customer service
Finally, by using AI in manufacturing, businesses can enhance their customer service. By tracking customer orders and preferences, businesses can use AI to provide a more personalized service and improve customer satisfaction levels.
How AI can be used in manufacturing?
With AI at disposal, manufacturers can now better understand consumers’ needs and preferences in order to design products that meet those needs more effectively. They can also leverage advanced sensors and predictive analytics to optimize production performance and prevent unplanned downtime or disruptions.
As such, it is becoming more critical than ever for manufacturers to embrace this technology in order to stay ahead of their competitors and continue thriving in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.
Let’s have a look at some of the use cases of AI in manufacturing:
#1. AI for defect detection:
In the world of manufacturing, defect detection is a critical issue that impacts both efficiency and quality. One major problem in manufacturing that can be addressed using AI is the inefficient and inaccurate inspection of production line components for defects.
For example, a manufacturer might implement an AI-powered system to scan components as they pass through each stage of production. As new data is gathered over time, the system can learn and improve its abilities to detect defects with greater precision and efficiency. Ultimately, this leads to significant cost savings for manufacturers while enhancing product quality for consumers.
#2. AI for Price forecasting of raw material:
In the manufacturing industry, price forecasting for raw materials is a crucial task that can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. Traditionally, this has been done using complex mathematical models and human judgment. However, in recent years, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has emerged as a powerful solution to this challenge.
For example, machine learning models can be used to analyze historical pricing data, identify patterns and trends in price fluctuations, and make informed predictions about future prices based on these insights. Additionally, natural language processing (NLP) techniques can be used to analyze news reports and other data sources for information about supply chain disruptions or other factors that may have an impact on prices.
#3. AI for demand prediction
One common problem that manufacturers face is predicting customer demand and ensuring that they have enough inventory to meet this demand.
Through the use of AI technologies such as neural networks, machine learning algorithms can analyze large data sets to identify patterns and trends in human buying behavior. This gives manufacturers much-needed insight into what products their customers are likely to buy in the near future, allowing them to prepare their supply chain accordingly and stock up on needed materials or finished products.
#4. AI for Supply chain optimisation
Supply chain optimisation is one of the key challenges facing manufacturers today, as they must manage a complex network of suppliers and parts in order to deliver products quickly and efficiently to customers. One way that AI can help address this challenge is by using machine learning techniques to optimize the supply chain itself.
For example using predictive models to analyze large amounts of data from past manufacturing processes, including production schedules, shipping routes, and inventory levels. By analyzing this data and identifying trends and patterns, AI systems can create accurate forecasts about what products need to be produced, where they need to be shipped, and how much inventory needs to be maintained at different points in the supply chain in order to meet customer demand with minimal waste or delays.
#5. AI for Product development
One major problem that manufacturers face is the long and costly process of developing new products or improving existing ones. AI can help address this problem is by providing powerful data analysis tools that can help manufacturers better understand their internal processes and uncover insights that they can use to develop more efficient manufacturing methods.
For example, in pharmaceutical we can use AI systems to analyze large amounts of data from their drug development experiments, allowing them to more quickly identify promising compounds and optimize their drug design and production processes in order to reduce costs and time to market.
#6. AI for Energy management
One common problem in manufacturing is that plant engineers often lack the time and resources necessary to properly evaluate the cost of plant energy usage. This can lead to significant waste, as well as missed opportunities for reducing costs or using energy more efficiently.
With the help of AI systems, however, this task can be automated and streamlined. By utilizing machine learning algorithms that analyze energy usage data over time, these systems are able to identify patterns and trends in energy use, making it easier for plant managers to identify areas where improvements can be made.
Additionally, AI systems can help manufacturers identify opportunities for cost-saving measures such as reducing reliance on expensive sources of fuel or switching to more efficient production processes.
#7. AI for Operational efficiency
One common challenge faced by manufacturers is managing the huge volume of incoming documents, including invoices, shipping manifests, and product specifications.
OCR and computer vision technologies can be used to automate this process and extract valuable data from these documents. By using AI algorithms to analyse text, images, and other types of data in these documents, businesses can quickly generate actionable insights that can help them make more informed decisions about everything from production planning to supply chain management.
For example, a manufacturer might leverage machine learning techniques to analyze sales data and improve forecast accuracy, or use natural language processing to identify areas of improvement in customer service based on feedback from customer reviews.
To conclude, it is evident that AI has a lot to offer the manufacturing industry in terms of quality control, efficiency, safety, flexibility, and customer service. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that more and more manufacturers are turning to AI to help them run their businesses.
If you are a manufacturer who is looking for ways to improve your operations, consider implementing some of the AI use cases mentioned above.
You may find that AI is just what you need to take your business to the next level.
Thanks for reading!