MILWAUKEE, WIS. – The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has released a list of the top manufacturing trends for 2021.
COVID-19 and employee safety is the top trend as the pandemic progresses throughout the year. Though vaccines are rolling out across North America and the rest of the world there will still be social distancing, visitor restrictions for facilities and ensuring good hygiene on worksites and in offices.
The AEM cited connecting workers with technology as another trend to watch in the new year. While the trend predated COVID-19, the changes brought by the pandemic have accelerated adoption of digital collaboration tools.
“An increased emphasis on safety and changes to work processes, in an effort to maintain social distancing and minimize physical contact, has led organizations of all types and sizes to adopt cutting-edge ways to allow for workers to communicate and interact virtually,” an AEM release stated.
Connected devices also known as the Internet of Things (IoT) will also continue developing in 2021. The release cited a finding by the MPI Group which stated approximately 31 per cent of manufacturing processes incorporate smart devices and embedded intelligence. The report also said more than one-third of manufacturers have established plans to implement IoT technology into their processes, while 32 per cent plan to embed IoT technology into their products.
The pandemic has also caused manufacturers to re-examine supply chains and access to resources and the AEM release said localized production and near-sourcing will become more prevalent in 2021.
“Manufacturers have made a concerted effort to bring their operations closer to where their offerings are sold, and there has been an increasing desire on the part of many companies to source raw materials from domestic suppliers. All of this is being done in an effort to avoid pandemic-related disruptions and support the U.S. economy during these uncertain times,” the release stated.
The final trend cited by AEM was predictive maintenance as technology enables more efficient repair and less downtime for mission-critical equipment. Benefits cited from an EAM-Mosca Corporation blog post include reduced costs, fewer failures, minimization of scheduled downtime and optimization of parts delivery.