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Reimagining Manufacturing from “Made for Masses” to “Made for Me”

In today’s rapidly evolving society, manufacturers are constantly challenged to meet the changing demands of the customers. While offshore manufacturing may have helped companies in the past to operate in highly specific markets, the future looks different. The era of “Personalization” is upon us and only the pragmatic will be able to keep up. As a manufacturer, what practices and technologies you should be investing in to stay relevant? Read on to find all the answers!

What is personalized manufacturing?

In manufacturing when we talk about areas like smart logistics, agile supply chain, flexible & decentralized manufacturing and zero-touch manufacturing, they are all about changing the paradigm from “Made for Masses” to “Made for Me”. We have entered an era of personalization where every individual consumer can get whatever they want customized to satisfy their aspirational taste. They are also willing to pay a little more to get their personalized product, but they want to be the part of the creation or conceptualization of the product which they buy and expect the same responsiveness and ordering experience as they get with mass products.

Role of digitalization in personalized manufacturing

Global digitalization has resulted in a direct connection between the user and the manufacturer to allow them to interact and respond in this personalization process. To make this unison even more responsive and productive, manufacturing must become autonomous. This in turn is forcing us to rethink manufacturing. With the quickly changing user needs factory processes need to be reinvented to support autonomous manufacturing using flexible, quickly reconfigurable and connected platforms.

Technologies that are enabling personalized manufacturing

At OMRON, our autonomous manufacturing policy involves seamlessly combining process, plant and people through integrated, intelligent and interactive technologies. Autonomous Mobile Robots that use natural feature navigation without the need to add any new infrastructure to transfer and transport products have become key to flexible manufacturing. These robots allow for quick re-routing of the materials to adapt to process changes that come with personalized manufacturing. Many of the new plant are planning to have process shelves on mobile platforms that can move autonomously to configure themselves as per the needs of process sequence. Now, inserting a new process in an automation line becomes quite easy because mobile robots can close the manufacturing loop without having to make physical changes to the existing line. Digitally connected manufacturing using smart sensors and AI vision sending real-time information feedback to the plant to take immediate corrective and preventive action, real-time health and safety monitoring with wearable and digital records, augmented reality based immersive training are all part of the current manufacturing evolution that is enabling personalized manufacturing.

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