More Manufacturers Are Adopting AI Technologies
Matthew Greenwood posted on March 29, 2019 |
Annual spending on AI is expected to pass $13 billion by 2025.

While the manufacturing industry was among the first to adopt new technologies a century ago, today’s companies are far more risk-averse due to the high capital costs of incorporating new technologies into their workflows.

But AI may be changing all that.

More and more manufacturers are incorporating AI into their operations, according to a recent report. And spending on AI software, hardware and services is anticipated to grow from $2.9 billion in 2018 to $13.2 billion in the next six years.

In particular, companies are investing in AI to boost quality monitoring, improve yields, predict maintenance and perform root cause analysis, manage energy and enable prototyping through digital twins.

“As manufacturing becomes more cost-sensitive and customers demand quality, manufacturers are using AI to enhance the performance of equipment, reduce downtime, and improve the quantity and quality of products,” said Keith Kirkpatrick, principal analyst at market intelligence firm Tractica, which produced the report. “The overarching driver of AI technology is the ability to find insights in large data sources that would be too unwieldy for humans to analyze quickly.”

AI-powered manufacturing is on the rise.

AI’s astounding versatility may be the reason why normally reluctant manufacturers are now rushing to embrace the technology. It can be used to enhance everything from real-time maintenance of equipment to virtual design that allows for new, improved and customized products, to a smart supply chain and the creation of new business models.

In fact, a Forbes survey on artificial intelligence recently found that 44 per cent of respondents from the automotive and manufacturing sectors classified AI as “highly important” to manufacturing within the next five years. Almost half of them—49 per cent—said it was “absolutely critical to success.” And 56 per cent of respondents plan to increase artificial intelligence spending.

Manufacturers seem to be coming to a consensus that AI will be the next major factor in their industries—and for a traditionally risk-averse sector, their enthusiasm for the technology to maintain their competitive edge shows no signs of slowing down.

“If you’re stuck to the old way and don’t have the capacity to digitalize manufacturing processes, your costs are probably going to rise, your products are going to be late to market, and your ability to provide distinctive value-add to customers will decline,” said Stephen Ezell, an expert in global innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Read more about the growth of the AI market at Trump Prioritizes AI—But Doesn’t Commit to Funding It.

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