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By Michael Davis

The Five Biggest Manufacturing Trends in 2017

Recent manufacturing industry news predicts a decline as companies wait for economic reforms. The new administration has promised deregulation, which is generally good for business. But the administration has also exchanged tense words with China and Mexico; this is not good, as the manufacturing industry likes stability. Aside from these recent developments, here are some trends to look for as we head into 2018.

3D Printing (additive manufacturing)

With the increase in computing power comes increasingly cooler gadgets that can perform increasingly complex tasks. 3D printing is a technology that allows three dimensional objects to be manufactured from a digital file. It is an additive process. These objects are first created in a CAD design and saved to a digital file. Then layers of the object are printed successively until the full three dimensional object is formed.

Internet of Things

While the increase in monitoring may creep people out, all those connected devices can increase customer satisfaction in many ways. A smartphone can put products at your fingertips, but it can also track your activities. What you may not know is that these same sensors can make it easier to keep track of oil production and manufacturing processes, which saves us all money in the long run.


A robot is a machine designed to be programmed to perform a specific task or series of tasks automatically. These machines have been designed to perform repetitive and menial tasks with extreme precision. The technology available now is impressive. And yes, they do steal jobs. But the majority of the jobs they are taking are the mind-numbing, repetitive, tedious jobs that no one enjoys doing. They do these jobs better and cheaper than humans, so robots are a trend that is here to stay.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is intelligence that is exhibited by machines. These machines are designed to perform tasks that ordinarily require human intelligence. When a machine shows cognitive functions normally associated with human minds, such as learning and problem solving, it is said to have artificial intelligence.

At the high end of processing, artificial intelligence analyzes data and solves problems. Data can be used in the automotive industry to detect failures, safety risks and defects. The trucking industry uses artificial intelligence to store and use data that predicts potential breakdowns and plans maintenance before these breakdowns occur.

Online sales

E-commerce is the selling of goods or services using the internet. From companies like Amazon to major retailers like Walmart, online sales is booming. In some cases, it has replaced the brick and mortar storefront altogether. The internet has changed how companies gather and use information.

Customer preferences and choices are monitored using IoT technology. This information is gathered and used to market products to customers based on their habits. The online music store has thus made the brick and mortar music store obsolete. Products are now available online from every major retailer. Who would visit a physical store instead of clicking a mouse and have their shopping list delivered to their front door?

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