NOVI, Mich. – The annual Integr8 show today emphasized how advanced manufacturing technology is getting faster.
“The pace of innovation is going to accelerate,” Tom Kelly, CEO of Automation Alley, the nonprofit group that organized the show, said at the start of the event.
Integr8, held in Novi, Mich., covered a variety of technologies, including artificial intelligence, digital twins, and 3D printing.
Advances in artificial intelligence comprised a recurring theme in different panel discussions.
AI “is going to change everything we know about manufacturing,” Kelly said. “AI democratizes knowledge. This is the pace of change we’re talking about.”
Examples of the use of AI include using the technology for maintenance of equipment. One Integr8 presentation detailed how AI can monitor and inspect machines and then predict when preventative maintenance is necessary. As a result, unexpected machine failures can be avoided while extending the life of equipment.
Digital twins, digital copies of products and equipment, can also be used to design new plants. Another Integr8 presentation referenced how BMW AG developed iFactory, a digital twin of a plant.
Automation Alley, based in Troy, Mich., promotes how manufacturers need to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies. For example, the group’s Project DIAMOnD has distributed about 300 3D printers to smaller companies to encourage them to utilize additive manufacturing.
Kelly said advanced tech will create more trained manufacturing jobs.
“This change is going to need all of us,” he said.
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