Technology is Key to Survival of Manufacturers
Fontana, CA – Manufacturers attending the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire meeting on October 30th were intrigued to learn about the latest innovations in their industry.
Presenter, Gregg Profozich, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), the State of California’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center, gave the audience plenty to think about as he covered Manufacturing 4.0: Where We Are… Where We Are Going. Manufacturing 4.0 is the innovation trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes which include cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIoOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.
Mr. Profozich started by stating, “New technologies can lead to rapid, widespread change as the rate of technology adoption is accelerating across society. As an example, the hearing aid industry essentially converted to additive manufacturing in only 500 days.” He then went into detail on three emerging manufacturing technologies: additive manufacturing, advanced robotics and smart manufacturing. Each of these technologies will fundamentally change how products are manufactured.
- Additive Manufacturing will eliminate or enhance tooling allowing for the quick development of custom tools, fixtures, and jigs to improve quality and through-put. Additionally, with the use of topology optimization it will enhance design, coalesce assemblies and improve product features
- Advanced Robotics will help to reduce quality problems, lower worker’s compensation costs and reduce repetitive stress injuries. However, he cautioned that if the motivation of a manufacturer is to replace labor, then the introduction of robotics will often not have a positive ROI
- Smart Manufacturing through the use of advanced sensors, controls, platforms and modeling, will deliver information about the production/manufacturing process across the entire value chain: when it is needed, where it is needed and in the form it is needed. This will enable improvements in productivity, cycle time and cost performance as well as products and services more closely tailored to individual customer needs
Mr. Profozich commented that we always need to be upskilling employees. Programs that are available at community colleges and training centers for new and incumbent workers need to be supported, and we, as a society, need to see manufacturing careers and vocational learning pathways as equally important, noble and rewarding as academic pathways and careers.
Mr. Profozich concluded his presentation with an overview of the need for cyber physical security in the manufacturing environment. He stated that as manufacturing becomes more digitized, manufacturers bear more risk of being victims of cyber attacks. He then presented a few facts to highlight the danger of being unprepared:
- 55% of small and medium-sized business have experienced a data breach or cyber attack
- 60% of impacted businesses are left severely impaired by such an attack
- $188,000 is the average cost for a small business to overcome a data breach
Overall, Mr. Profozich pointed out there is often the need for cultural change within businesses in order to fully realize the gains made possible through improved, efficient processes. Optimizing processes before implementing automation is critical, as automation tends to institutionalize processes.
Questions and comments from both manufacturers and educators in the audience probed for details to assist them in fleshing out realistic strategies.
About Gregg Profozich
Gregg Profozich joined CMTC in 2015 to provide executive leadership in the program areas including; supply chain development, innovation, technology transfer, exporting, growth strategies, energy, and marketing. He is also responsible for initiating advanced manufacturing technology services such as, Additive Manufacturing, Advanced Robotics and Automation and Smart Manufacturing.
Mr. Profozich is a skilled leader with over two decades of experience across manufacturing, operations, supply chain, strategy execution and information technology. Drawing on his background across fortune 500 companies, start-ups and consulting, he is experienced in pioneering new tools, approaches and services to assist SMMs improve their global competitiveness.
The Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE) supports education and workforce training on behalf of manufacturers throughout the region, offering expertise in a variety of topics including innovative workforce solutions. Resources and problem-solving strategies, that are provided through MCIE membership, generate positive economic impacts to employers, employees, students (from grade school through college), and the community at large. For more on events, visit mfgcouncilie.com.