The manufacturing sector has long relied on technology for the efficient production of goods. One obvious example is cars, which are largely built with the aid of robotic technology, though human beings are often still a necessary component of the manufacturing process. Even Elon Musk, creator of the fully electric Tesla, had to admit that his idea for a completely automated manufacturing process wasn’t feasible and that human workers were “underrated.” While studies reveal that a mere 1.3% of companies have incorporated robotics into their operations, technology will continue to evolve and drive industry.

With this in mind, let’s take a brief look at some technological trends. While some of the developments outlined below have been underway for years, the use of these technologies and processes in more sophisticated forms is expected to grow in coming years.

Smart Facilities

A smart manufacturing facility utilizes “different combinations of modern technologies to create a hyperflexible, self-adapting manufacturing capability.” The benefits of facilities of this type include the integration of data analytics into processes and interlinked machines and systems that share information between one another. Highly detailed data, including information on the performance of the machinery and overall product quality, is now often derived from sensors that are integrated into the equipment, either at initial manufacturing or later during retrofitting.

Industrial Internet of Things

An integral aspect of the smart facility is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIoT “uses the power of smart machines and real-time analytics to take advantage of the data that ‘dumb machines’ have produced in industrial settings for years.” Intelligent equipment is generally better able to collect and analyze data on the fly than human beings, making for more efficient operations. It also allows for greater control over supply chains, sustainable processes, and other facets of manufacturing.

Sustainable Practices

Prevailing attitudes toward green operations have led many organizations worldwide to implement sustainable practices in increasing numbers, from setting science-based carbon emission limits to using recycled materials for product packaging.

3D Printing

Though 3D printing was in use before COVID-19, the pandemic caused major issues in global supply chains, creating the need for medical equipment and related components to be created locally and efficiently. Whether or not this shift will last remains to be seen, but the use of 3D printing has enabled companies to produce more environmentally friendly goods of higher quality.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The robots that assemble cars can complete specified tasks repeatedly, but they don’t adapt well when new conditions or parts are introduced into the process. Artificial intelligence may enable a robot to recognize that an object is not supposed to be on an assembly line and remove it, for example. AI is also being used to predict when machinery will need servicing. Predictive maintenance, as it’s called, enables a company to plan ahead for any repairs that their equipment may need, minimizing costly downtime. The overall goal is greater efficiency.

Secure Supply Chain

While digital technologies undoubtedly enhance the manufacturing process, their computer-based nature makes them vulnerable to hackers. Recent efforts to make supply chains more secure from cyber security attacks include the recent establishment of guidelines by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Online Degree Programs at the Forefront of Industrial Innovation

UT Permian Basin’s AACSB-accredited College of Business can help you stay ahead of the trends in industrial technology while you hone vital expertise you can apply toward your career. Our online bachelor’s degree programs in industrial technology provide a broad foundation in general education topics that every individual needs for success and help you develop skills tailored to your specific IT discipline. Choose from:

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology (BSIT)

Gain a working knowledge of how to manage industrial operations for almost any organization. Read more about this online program now.

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Industrial Technology (BAAS-IT)

Build the skillset to manage industrial and technical issues for just about any organization, with expertise in essential management concepts, supply chain management, optimization theory, and more. Read more about this online program now.

To expand your industrial technology knowledge and credentials to the petroleum industry, consider adding a 12-credit online undergraduate certificate in petroleum technology to this BAAS-IT program without extending the time to complete your degree.

Complete Your Degree Online

With their technological focus, it’s only fitting that all these programs are delivered in a 100% online asynchronous format. The advantages to learning online are significant: You can complete your coursework from virtually any location—from Athens, Georgia to Athens, Greece—on your own schedule. Earning a respected university degree need never interfere with your personal and professional responsibilities! Program courses are based on the same curriculum and are taught by the same doctoral-level professors who teach them at the UTPB campus.

Master tomorrow’s industrial technology skills and tools online. Apply to one of our online programs today.