Blog Post

Challenges and Advantages of Machine Learning in Manufacturing Industry

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) have the capacity to change and impact countless areas of business. The manufacturing industry in particular is one that can truly benefit from this new technology. However, many applications of machine learning in manufacturing are not without their challenges.

This initial blog post in a series of seven highlights the top challenges and advantages associated with machine learning in manufacturing. In upcoming blogs, we will take a deeper dive into each factor.


Challenges of Machine Learning in the Manufacturing Industry

In order to make the most of machine learning, there are few hurdles that you will need to overcome. Here are the top 3 challenges to keep in mind.

Challenge #1: Identifying Where to Use Machine Learning

Because machine learning can benefit so many areas of manufacturing, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. Start by identifying the areas which could improve the most, with the least complexity. Automating manual, day-to-day tasks can often make a huge difference to operational efficiency and can be a great place to start. Next, consider whether the task you have in mind requires machine learning in order to successfully be automated.

Challenge #2: Gathering the Data You Need

Gathering enough relevant data is one of the most challenging aspects of integrating machine learning into the manufacturing processes. In order to make machine learning work for your business, you must have access to high quality, consistent and accurate data. ERP software tailored to the manufacturing industry can help gather and consolidate data to mitigate these challenges. 

Challenge #3: Implementing Machine Learning

In order to embrace the benefits of machine learning you will need:

  • Infrastructure that can support this technology. You may need to upgrade antiquated systems to make sure you’re ready to make the most of machine learning.
  • A trusted implementation partner. Create a clear implementation strategy and work with a knowledgeable partner to ensure success.


Advantages of Machine Learning in the Manufacturing Industry

There are many advantages to using machine learning in manufacturing. ML can enhance everything from how machine shops are run to how they are maintained. Machine learning can improve sustainability, product design, efficiency, and reduce costs. Below we detail 3 key advantages to applications of machine learning in manufacturing.

Advantage #1: Improved Operations

One of the most often-cited ways in which machine learning can reduce costs and enable greater efficiency day-to-day is by improving operations. Business managers can use machine learning to identify unseen issues, streamline processes, optimize the supply chain and more. Process improvement can also be achieved via the following applications of machine learning in manufacturing:

  • Automation: Identify processes that can be automated and improved using machine learning.
  • Robots: Use robots to complete dangerous and complicated tasks seamlessly.  
  • Maintenance: Keep on top of maintenance, identify issues as they arise and minimize downtime.

Advantage #2: Product Design and Improvement

Machine learning can reduce the risk associated with investing in new products, and make the goal to improve existing products more achievable. Successful product design and improvement is based on data, which can be thoroughly analyzed and put to best use using machine learning. Through data, machines can learn how people use your products, understand customer needs and identify existing strengths and weaknesses.

The value of machine learning in additive manufacturing has also been established. Machine learning can vastly improve the accuracy of 3D printing, as ML technology learns from mistakes and predicts errors.

Machine learning can even help you make better custom or personalized products.


Advantage #3: Quality Assurance

Machine learning can make quality control simple and product inspections more accurate. Machines are able to detect faults and eliminate human error. This means improved overall product quality and fewer defective products reaching your customers. Machine learning can therefore protect your brand reputation and the customers you serve.


Learn More about Machine Learning in Manufacturing

There’s no doubt that smart manufacturing will be the way of the future, and that those who embrace this new technology are in the best position to compete. We specialize in creating unique solutions for the manufacturing industry. To learn more about applications of machine learning in manufacturing and discuss solutions tailored to your unique business needs, contact CTND today.