Pittsburgh Technical Council

Experts Identify Megatrends in Manufacturing

Experts Identify Megatrends in Manufacturing

Article Published: August 20, 2014

PetraBy Petra Mitchell, Catalyst Connection

Significant advancements in technology are fundamentally changing the way goods are manufactured today and in the coming years. Experts have classified many of these new technologies into three megatrends:

1. Cloud Computing: The use of technology over the Internet rather than housing hardware and software physically on location. This takes the burden of maintaining Information Technology (IT) resources off the user and allows the technology to be easily scaled and updated according to the needs of the user.

2. Internet of Things: the use of sensors and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) together in machinery, materials, packaging and other physical components of the production process. This data can be used to make decisions automatically and provide feedback to other systems.

3. Advanced Materials: New materials and systems are being developed to enable products to be created that are higher quality, more affordable to manufacture or have new features that would not be possible otherwise.

These megatrends may be confusing and seem more relevant to the largest manufacturing corporations. In fact, the technologies offer new opportunities for small manufacturers in Pennsylvania. Manufacturing practices that are emerging from one or more of these megatrends include: Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Smart Grid, Cluster Manufacturing, Mass Customization, and Advanced Power Storage Capabilities.

The next step for Pennsylvania manufacturers is to learn about these megatrends and determine how we can benefit from adopting new technologies. Catalyst Connection is looking to host a technical conference in September on Megatrends in Manufacturing that will have experts explain these topics in digestible portions. We will also have some local manufacturers explain how they have adopted these new technologies to improve their competitive advantage.

Look for more details on this conference and be sure to participate in similar events that the Pittsburgh Technology Council offers. Both of our organizations are working to keep Pennsylvania on the forefront of Advanced Manufacturing.

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