Like many other sectors, the manufacturing industry is slowly becoming transformed through the use of artificial intelligence.
AI is being utilized in many different ways, including predictive maintenance, generative design, and market predictions.
However, AI is still in its infancy, which means there are still pros and cons of adopting AI in manufacturing.
If you run a manufacturing company and are considering implementing AI more, it is important you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages first.
To help you get started, check out the following insightful overview of the pros and cons of AI in the manufacturing industry.
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Cons of AI in the Manufacturing Industry
People generally prefer the bad news first. So, let us begin by looking at the cons of using artificial intelligence before we move on to the pros.
1. AI Can Be Expensive
Although adopting AI allows you to cut labor costs, the initial implementation of AI can be pretty costly; especially for startups and small companies.
However, you can lessen the cost of implementing AI by opting for second-hand CNC machines, such as those from leading brands available at revelationmachinery.com.
Still, there are other expenses you need to be aware of. For instance, you will have ongoing maintenance costs as well as expenses to protect your systems from cyberattacks.
2. You Need Skillful Experts
Because AI is continually evolving, you will always need an AI expert on hand with the relevant skills to provide abilities like sophisticated programming.
At present, AI experts are few and in high demand, which means you may not be able to find a professional easily.
It also means the cost of employing an AI expert will be more expensive than hiring others.
3. AI Is Open to Vulnerabilities
AI is vulnerable to cyberattacks, and as AI becomes more sophisticated and widespread, cybercriminals will continue to come up with new hacking methods.
If there is even a small breach, it can disrupt your production line. In fact, a small breach can potentially shut down a manufacturing business.
So, you need to always be up-to-date with your security measures and be aware of the latest cyberattack threats, which could be costly.
Even with the most sophisticated security systems in place, there is still the potential for hackers to find vulnerabilities.
Pros of AI in the Manufacturing Industry
While you need to be aware of the cons of using AI in the manufacturing industry, you also need to know that the pros of using AI are many.
While you will have to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself, it is generally agreed that the advantages of using AI in manufacturing outweigh the disadvantages.
Here are some of the key reasons why you should consider adopting AI for your manufacturing operations.
1. Predictive Maintenance Means Less Downtime
While you will have maintenance costs relating to the AI processes themselves, the predictive maintenance of AI means you can quickly and accurately predict when the next failure of a machine, part, or system will occur.
Having foreknowledge of such things means you will not suddenly have to halt production when a machine, part, or system fails, as you will be able to solve the issue before that happens.
Studies continually show that unplanned downtime costs manufacturers an estimated $50 billion every year and that machine or part failures are responsible for 42% of that downtime.
By introducing AI, you can avoid the expense that arises from turning machines off. Predictive maintenance uses advanced AI algorithms to formulate asset malfunction predictions.
2. AI Enables Higher Quality
Manufacturing companies are finding it more and more challenging to maintain high levels of quality and also comply with regulations and standards concerning quality.
That becomes even more difficult when deadlines for getting to market are increasingly becoming shorter.
Increasing production without addressing quality can lead to defects and product recalls, which can seriously damage a company’s brand in addition to being a costly expense.
On the other hand, AI ensures the highest quality is maintained throughout the manufacturing process. AI algorithms can notify workers of emerging production faults that could potentially create quality issues.
By tending to those issues early on, it is easy for manufacturers to maintain quality levels.
3. AI Can Enhance Production Designs
AI is changing the way that products are designed, for the better.
For instance, one method is for designers and engineers to define a brief that is then inputted into an AI algorithm.
The brief’s data would include things like restrictions and parameters for types of materials, available production methods, time constraints, and budget limitations.
The algorithm would then explore each possible configuration before returning a set of the best solutions. Those solutions can then be tested with machine learning to identify which method would work best.
4. AI Helps Manufacturers Adapt to an Ever-changing Market
AI’s use in the manufacturing industry is not limited to design methods and ways of improving production on the machine shop floor. It can also be used to optimize manufacturing supply chains and identify market changes.
That gives a manufacturing company a massive advantage as it can move from a responsive mindset to a strategic mindset.
AI algorithms formulate predictions of market demands by identifying patterns that link things like location, political status, socioeconomic and macroeconomic elements, and consumer behavior.
Armed with such data, manufacturing companies can much better optimize things like inventory control, staffing, the supply of raw materials, and energy consumption.
It should be clear that AI is transforming the manufacturing industry in various ways. Benefits are being seen from the design process to the production floor to strategies for identifying future market trends.
While there are certainly some disadvantages of AI, one thing is certain: AI is here to stay. Even though it is in its early stages, AI is destined to change the way products and parts are manufactured and the way manufacturers approach sector objectives.
So, the earlier you can climb aboard the AI boat for your manufacturing company, the better.