The Future of Smart Manufacturing

An article comprised of a Rockwell Automation informational cover letter titled “What is Smart Manufacturing” defines the new industrial movement called “smart manufacturing”, predicts how it will be implemented and change the U.S. and world markets, and issued a call to action for the general public. (http://www.rockwellautomation.com/resources/downloads/rockwellautomation/pdf/about-us/company-overview/TIMEMagazineSPMcoverstory.pdf) The article describes smart manufacturing as a “marriage between information, technology, and human ingenuity”, and predicts that any company that does not eventually adopt smart manufacturing practices will fail. Improved worker safety, along with a “zero-emissions” goal, are advantages to the new smart manufacturing industry. The integration of smart manufacturing is predicted to be via three phases. Phase 1 is described as “the integration of all manufacturing data throughout individual plants and across enterprises” and “will facilitate significant, immediate improvements in costs, safety and environmental impacts”. Phase 2 will “create robust “manufacturing intelligence” that will enable variable-speed, flexible manufacturing, optimal production rates and faster product customization”. Phase 3 is the prediction of “major market disruptions” such as “a $3,000 automobile or a $300 personal computer” that can be reached as the smart manufacturing process is refined. Lastly, as stated previously, is a call to action to the general public to seek out ways to support and invest in the new smart manufacturing industry. Is the rise of smart manufacturing actually going to build the workforce? Or will it take away many of the manufacturing positions help by many Americans today? What are some options for companies who may not have the funds to transition from present day manufacturing processes to smart manufacturing?

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