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“Manufacturing Need” and “Artificial Intelligence” Means

To manufacture” was the need of mankind in times as early as Stone Age, is still a need of today and it will be pretty safe to say that the need will still be persistent in the far future and might even be more prominent than ever. In fact, owning the frontier of Manufacturing technology and being a stalwart in the production business has become very crucial for a country’s overall development. This can be well understood by a quote from a very famous philosopher Karl Marx who said:

“The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future”

The inception of manufacturing started as early as the first men walked the face of the earth. Over a period of time, we had refined our ways of manufacturing, starting from the traditional production process (Conversion of raw material to finished product) to an integrated concept of Business level operation. Now Business implies competition and in this case, a very substantial one. As we talk more and more about newer, faster, more efficient, and flexible production systems, we generally talk about the essential tools necessary for this evolution. From the early Industrial Revolution, the Manufacturing industry experienced revolutionary changes which comprised of the introduction of Steam power, Electrical power, Numerical controlled machines, use of automated production lines, advanced Non-Traditional machining, and many more. But the most critical development in my opinion came along with the introduction of computers and programmable control systems. Fixed automation was upgraded to programmable automation and controlling the production process was easy unlike anything seen before. This continued and introduction of Information & communication technology strengthened the manufacturing industry to a greater extent. Now as evolution is a continuous process, along came artificial Intelligence technology to transform the current automated Manufacturing to Smart Manufacturing. A quote from an eminent scholar & Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, Andrew Ng illustrates this fact:

Electricity transformed every business. Now deep learning and AI has advanced to the point it, too, has the potential to transform every industry. AI will perform manufacturing, quality control, shorten design time, and reduce materials waste, improve production reuse, perform predictive maintenance, and more.”

Artificial intelligence can simply be defined as providing a brain to our machines such that they become intelligent like human beings. This is the simplest definition that I could come up with but in reality, AI is not at all a simple technology. AI is used on three levels in the industry namely: Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI )& Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI ). ANI encompasses machines that perform single tasks intelligently like a welding robot that only performs welding operation. AGI is an advanced version of ANI in which the machine learns and develops its own memory database to perform tasks and take decisions on its own. Research is still going on to develop a fully functional Manufacturing system of this type. A close example of this could be the two-armed robot that assembles components without any program, developed by a team of researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology division in Munich, Germany. The third level of AI namely ASI is merely a concept as of now. A machine with intelligence that surpasses that of humans is still a myth but not impossibility.

Newer technologies like IoT (Internet of things) fueled by AI tools like Machine learning, pattern recognition software are going to be the key players to set up the so-called future smart factories. The Manufacturer’s Annual Manufacturing Report 2018 depicted that a major percentage (>90%)of senior manufacturing executives believe that “Smart Factory” digital technologies, including AI, will enable them to increase their productivity and empower staff to work smarter.

“Smart factories have the potential to generate as much as $3.7 trillion in value per year in 2025,” (McKinseyGlobal Report)

Knowing that an evolving Mechanical and Manufacturing sector will bring in lots of opportunities for budding Engineering students of today, we at SGT University focus on the all-round development of our students by providing them the required equipment and guidance. B. Tech Mechanical Engineering students here are practicing with actual robotic arms, simulation setup, CNC machines, etc. and are undertaking basic and advanced courses like Machine learning, Cloud computing, etc. to keep themselves at par with the growing and evolving industry.

Mr. Asad Habeeb
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering

 

2 Comments

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