How machine learning can help manufacturing

What role could machine learning play in manufacturing?

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have garnered a lot of attention recently. IDC estimates machine learning and AI spending to increase from $19.1 billion in 2018 to $52.2 billion by 2021. With billions of dollars invested in ML and AI, tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc., have already made great strides in ML development. It was reported that between 2013 and 2017, ML was the third highest category for the number of patents granted.

So, what exactly is ML? Machine Learning is a form of artificial intelligence whereby the algorithm is designed to recognize patterns in data to execute functions and also to improve itself over time as more data is fed without the need for explicit programming. It has been identified as a use case for many applications such as virtual assistants, online advertisements, social media, healthcare, finance, retail and manufacturing. In particular, as the manufacturing sector braces for the industrial 4.0 revolution, there will be a large-scale deployment of ML powered systems in various industries. Accounting for this massive upgrade, it is estimated that the global smart manufacturing (combination of IoT and AI) market will reach $395 billion by 2025.


The role of machine learning in manufacturing

Depending on the industry, the manufacturing process can be long and complex. For instance, aircraft manufacturing has a completely different set of challenges and complexities than say IC or chip manufacturing. Although processes between industries can widely vary, manufacturers across every industry have common expectations such as to have short lead-times, timely maintenance and lower machine downtimes, optimized operations, and effective quality control. Therefore, implementing machine learning and AI can make a big impact in manufacturing.


Quality control

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