The analysis of what to expect from technological applications in the near future can only be based on the strict current situation and the events that affect the market today.
A market in which, among other things, the demand is not lacking, but which paradoxically sometimes cannot satisfy because we do not have the possibility of building the appropriate technological responses, in machines and equipment.
Among the current problems of many companies, the most pressing is to overcome the difficulties related to the supply of materials and components. An issue that forces, in some cases, to redesign the machines and reorganize internal processes. Or to look for alternative solutions, such as building their own technological tools.
From this it can be deduced, for the moment, that companies capable of having constructive knowledge and expertise are slightly more advantaged when it comes to finding quick and concrete answers.
Another issue: in recent years, there have been significant incentives aimed at the Digital Transformation of productions that have led many industries to automate some processes. It is emphasized that, in addition to the objectives of increased production, better control and organization, cost reduction and quality control, Industry 4.0 can also represent a response to the increasingly evident lack of professionalism, attributed to the aging of the skilled workforce, and in some cases to labor shortages.
Automation, therefore, must be interpreted as a solution capable of providing that quality and precision that the real operator can no longer achieve.
But let's go to the crucial point: the topic that is currently a priority for all future technological innovation is: data collection, management and analysis.
New machinery and upcoming technologies will have to be dedicated to the research of solutions that respond to the requirements of "traceability", which in turn implies an efficient and well-structured exchange of data.
The most important difficulty to overcome, regarding the subject, is the lack of definitive rules and shared standards. A situation that makes the panorama confusing and unclear, despite the fact that month after month the growth of a culture of digitization and the desire to find a common course that involves the entire production chain is evident. In short, there are still many ideas and no certainty, but one where the change must necessarily pass this stage.
The solution could arise from various impulses: that the big brands in the sector impose their own systems and practices; or that the European regulation, based on the issue of data security management, could provide the guidelines.
Two routes in which some references are already being installed in the free field on which it previously moved.
In a still uncertain situation, companies in the sector must move with caution and attention. It is recommended to be informed, deepen, adopt the technologies and verify the results obtained.
Before being impressed and convinced by start-ups or futuristic experiments, it is important and essential to understand well how much data can be collected in the company about processes and products; how they are managed and if there is capacity to analyze them. The advice is not to stand still, rather, to tackle gradual and well-thought-out projects, to be evaluated every six months, given the speed with which systems change. An aspect that we have not yet stopped to think about, and that could assume a central and strategic role in the Digital Transformation of the manufacturing sector, is Artificial Intelligence.
And once again, on closer inspection, the ability to integrate automatic data collection and management solutions on the one hand, and process mapping and description on the other hand, will be decisive for a specific response to the problem.
Is it still too distant a future?
Perhaps, but the rapid and overwhelming application developments that bits have accustomed us to describe well the potential change that we may soon see.