Industrial technology is used daily in business to streamline and accelerate production and increase productivity, profitability, and safety. The ongoing need to find better, faster, and cleaner ways of manufacturing and using products drives constant technical innovation, and the results can benefit both businesses and their customers.
Examples Of Industrial Technology Innovation
“Innovation” refers both to the creation of new technologies and to their adaptation for use in a variety of industries, with the end goal of making people’s lives easier and, as you’ll see, potentially saving their lives. Let’s take a look at some technological innovations that have helped both businesses and consumers.
Robots are not a new manufacturing tool. In fact, they’ve been used on automobile assembly lines for more than 50 years. These are not the walking, talking robots depicted in science fiction movies, but rather robotic arms that can easily move heavy components into place or apply paint and adhesives to a vehicle without suffering any effects of toxic fumes. The automotive industry has provided a testing ground for the widespread use of robotics in manufacturing, paving the way for its use across other business sectors.
Dental surgery is another area in which robot technology is becoming essential. Some dentists are now placing dental implants with a robot arm fitted with dental tools. This arm guides the dentist’s hand, surgically inserting the implant with great precision and making it nearly impossible for the dentist to perform the procedure incorrectly.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
One particular class of robots, referred to as “smart robots,” do not merely perform as programmed but can learn and implement new tasks on their own. In business, they’re being used to increase efficiency in numerous ways. For example, when live customer service representatives are busy, chatbots—those little question boxes that pop up on websites and introduce themselves with a human name before offering assistance—can fill in the gap. Self-driving cars, self-parking cars, and robot vacuum cleaners all use artificial intelligence to add convenience to our daily lives.
Clean technology, sometimes called cleantech, is a “set of technologies that either reduce or optimize the use of natural resources, whilst simultaneously reducing the negative effect that technology has on the planet and its ecosystems.” The push for companies to operate in an environmentally responsible manner and make clean products available to consumers catalyzed the development of the electric car, low-flow toilets, water filtration systems, solar panels, and wind turbines.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) typically refers to physical devices and appliances that are “able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors.” These fall outside the realm of devices traditionally created with such functionality, such as smartphones and computers. The voice-enabled Alexa, which allows users to access information and entertainment through simple verbal commands, is one consumer-based example. While convenience is an advantage all users can appreciate, Alexa users who are blind or suffer from mobility issues enjoy especially significant benefits from such technology.
A growing number of manufacturing companies are making an investment in IoT, which has been referred to as “the pipeline connecting and collecting mountains of data from an entire spectrum of equipment and devices.” According to one estimate, 81% of industrial manufacturers are using Internet of Things technology to boost their operational efficiency.
Additive manufacturing, more commonly referred to as 3D printing, has been around since the 1980s, but its potential has increased a thousandfold over the decades. 3D printers are now available to consumers, who can make items such as cell phone holders on their own at home. But the impact on business has been more dramatic. This technology enables mass-produced items to get to market quicker and at a lower cost. Additive manufacturing is already being used to create prosthetic limbs, dental crowns, and more, and it has the potential to create human organs for people who need transplants. According to GlobalData, industry will invest more than $20 billion into 3D printing by 2025.
Popular in the video gaming world for years, virtual reality headsets are now helping businesses in many ways. Car manufacturers can create 360-degree virtual views of prototype vehicles from design specs before beginning the expensive and lengthy process of developing a physical prototype. Virtual and augmented reality software enables surgeons to perform complex procedures on virtual patients first, improving hospital efficiency and patient outcomes. Health-conscious consumers can wear a Fitbit on their wrist to track the distance they’ve traveled in a given time frame.
Online Industrial Technology Degree Programs
Help lay the path for future innovations that can forever change the way business works and consumers live their lives. The right training and credentials can help position you for a rewarding industrial technology role within a variety of industries. The University of Texas Permian Basin offers online bachelor’s degrees that will be invaluable in your career:
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology (BSIT)
Prepare to manage industrial operations within any organization.
Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Industrial Technology (BAAS-IT)
Expand your expertise in management concepts including optimization theory and supply chain management. This program can benefit AAS-degree holders seeking to advance their careers to include managerial roles. Add an online undergraduate certificate in petroleum technology to enhance your expertise in the energy industry.
Convenient Virtual Classroom
All courses for two degree programs are presented in an asynchronous, 100% online format, offering you tremendous flexibility. Complete your coursework at your own pace, from any location, while giving your professional and personal obligations the attention they need. Most program courses last just eight weeks, and you’ll learn from the same distinguished professors who teach the courses on campus at UT Permian Basin.
Explore industrial technology and acquire the skills needed to succeed in a variety of careers with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from UT Permian Basin.