Here at Machine Design, we talk about “Smart Manufacturing” quite a bit. It goes by other names like the Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial IoT (IIoT), and Industry 4.0. Some of you might still be skeptical at the idea and understandably so. The term IoT has been floating around since 1985 and was coined by Peter T. Lewis at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The term was used to describe “the integration of people, processes, and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.” The evidence of this future has yet to be fully realized in industry. Among consumer products, we can see how interconnected we have all become. The mobile-device market is one of the fastest-growing markets. Cisco Systems predicted that there would be 2.1 million mobile devices in 2013. They updated their estimate in 2015 due to global mobile devices and connections growing to 7.9 billion, up from 7.3 billion in 2014. Globally, mobile devices and connections are predicted to grow to 11.6 billion by 2020.
The interconnected world is now becoming a reality also at the industrial level. One of the major focuses of the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show is the “Smart Manufacturing and the Rise of the Cobots.” The site page for the show lists why this year’s conference will focus more heavily on smart manufacturing:
“This is not a trend…this is the future. The smart manufacturing focus at Pacific Design & Manufacturing takes the current and future impacts of the fourth industrial revolution and puts them into perspective. Collaborative robots are leading the way, getting smarter and increasing productivity. Whether you're an IoT novice or a smart factory guru, you can't afford to miss this opportunity…”
There are several ways to experience and enhance your knowledge of smart manufacturing. First of all, there will be several suppliers on hand to help bring you up to speed. You can experience face-to-face time with specialists that focus on sensors, data collection, collaborative robots, and innovative software. All of these innovations are spearheading the IoT push. Cobots especially are being highlighted this year. The leading companies like ABB, FANUC, Rethink Robotics, and Universal Robots will be on hand to answer any cobot questions you may have.
The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit allows you to join expert speakers from top companies like Omron Adept Technologies and IBM Watson. Both are experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence. The way we interface with technology will drastically change under the IoT revolution. We will go from analog and digital interfaces to just being able to speak our commands aloud.
Several other aspects make up the “Smart Manufacturing and the Rise of the Cobots” track. “Center Stage” at the show will highlight continuing trends such as 3D printing. “Connection Corner” provides attendees a chance to meet with other professionals taking the IoT journey. Lastly, “Meet the Robots” will let you get up close and personal with some of the robotic innovations poised to change the industry.