The manufacturing industry can be overly optimistic when it comes to new technologies — believing AI will fast-track development and IoT-empowered factories are bound to catch up with the German and Swiss in precision manufacturing.
While management teams and consultants may spout trendy tech terms such as “process,” “automated,” or “smart” and seem keen to hand over precisely timed, measured tasks to machines, the truth is that AI tech is not a panacea — because manufacturing is hard.
Data guru Professor Zhou Tao believes there are two paths for industrial smart equipment upgrades — “intrusive” or “nonintrusive.”
Intrusive upgrades involve rebuilding the production line, scrapping old equipment and replacing it with modern machines. Says Zhou, “Decade-old equipment can be a real pain source because they may contribute to 20% of product defects.” The downside of this approach is that companies may have to spend millions on new machines, gadgets and technical staff.