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Smart Manufacturing Trends in 2022

Technology in the manufacturing sector is evolving rapidly, and it has to. In this article, we'll be covering the following points (click to jump to that section):

Many recent trends that impact manufacturing processes focus on improving efficiency to reduce production costs while also developing better products. Tapping into these strategies requires the continuous implementation of emerging trends in the manufacturing sector to stay competitive.

The smart manufacturing industry is shaping the future of manufacturing. The smart manufacturing industry enables new production methods based on fully adaptable computer-integrated systems. As a data-driven approach to the manufacturing industry, smart manufacturing often utilizes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to automate operations and enhance performance using real-time data analytics to drive factory changes or supply network changes.

Smart manufacturing strategies use intelligent solutions to ensure a scalable control of self-adaptable production processes. As more smart manufacturing industry trends continue to emerge each year, the capabilities available to you expand. Below, we’ve listed the smart manufacturing trends to watch for in 2022.

Top 10 Smart Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2022
High tech manufacturing trends graphic

    1. Digital Transformation 
      Investing in digital transformation is central to unlocking the industrial machinery trends that will accelerate and improve essential manufacturing and engineering processes, but establishing the collection of accurate data is key to its success. In 2022, more companies will understand the value of leveraging digitalization to implement modern technology in manufacturing. Digitalization also supports smart manufacturing and digital engineering functions in a simulated environment.

    2. Automation

      Integrating automation into manufacturing and engineering processes will become easier and more accessible as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies enhance the abilities of robots and cobots. With AI and ML simplifying robotic programming and improving safety, manufacturers will encourage their implementation in their manufacturing and production processes.

      Updates to automation technology will increase its ease of use, enabling workers with little expertise in robotic programming to operate robots and cobots. With this technology more accessible and easier to implement, robots and cobots will be the next trend in manufacturing automation.

      3d scanning automation

      For example, GOM’s Virtual Measuring Room (VMR) software module is designed to learn the optimal paths for measuring routines using an algorithm. Operating the VMR requires very little training, allowing more employees to use the system, which decreases bottlenecks. The VMR also improves safety because all robot movements are simulated for safety and efficiency before they physically occur.

    3. Digital Twin - MBD/PMI

      The digital twin is a CAD-based technology that utilizes sensors to generate a virtual copy of an object, process, system, production line, or manufacturing component. The latest high-tech manufacturing trends involve a “simulate-first mentality” that is highly effective in practice, making digital twin strategies essential to digital transformation.


      Simulation helps accelerate troubleshooting, design adjustments, and the overall product development cycle by allowing safer, high-performing procedures and products in less time. Obtaining an accurate digital twin requires a fast and reliable way to collect full-field data, which is why 3D scanning is the gateway to unlocking digital twin strategies.

      mbd pmi 3d scanning data

      Adding to this smart manufacturing trend is model-based definition (MBD), which drives future manufacturing trends. MBD uses 3D CAD models that include semantic product manufacturing information (PMI) containing key information about geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, bill of materials (BOM) data, weld symbols, measurement plans, metadata, and others. With all this information readily available to every engineer who works with the model, MBD and PMI serve as a single “source of truth,” enabling better communication, quality and consistency.

    4. Accurate Data

      The growing use of accurate data is fueling many smart manufacturing trends in 2022. Companies are learning new ways to leverage accurate data to devise profitable strategies. In smart manufacturing, everything relies and runs on data. This data helps to uncover trends, predict and prevent future problems, enable lights-out manufacturing, and create other autonomous systems. The present and the future of smart manufacturing are undeniably data-driven, making it crucial to secure a fast and consistent way to collect accurate, high-quality data.


      accurate 3d scanner data

    5. Data Visualization 

      In 2022, we will continue to see manufacturers stepping away from traditional measurement methods that produce data in rows of numbers in exchange for interactive visual data. 3D scanners quickly collect visual geometric measurement data that supports better communication and faster decision-making, among other benefits. Visualizing data makes it faster and easier to analyze, preventing bottlenecks in many essential processes. The uses for data visualization will continue to expand as more companies begin their digital transformation in 2022.

      3D data visualization

    6. Additive Manufacturing

      Additive manufacturing (AM) has been revolutionizing the manufacturing industry for several years now. In 2022, we will continue to see it advancing with new applications and widespread adoption in the manufacturing sector. Along with this trend will be the continued adoption of 3D scanners enabling and supporting additive manufacturing applications.

      additive manufacturing

      By scanning an object, you can obtain a 3D printer-ready watertight mesh and ultimately create a copy of it with a 3D printer. Fabricating complex geometry components with this method will become easier with technology enhancements such as mesh editing.

    7. Adaptive Machining

      2022 will also bring the increased adoption of adaptive machining. With 3D scanning working in tandem with adaptive machining, manufacturers will implement this application to have more precision, accuracy and control over their workpieces. Accurate data from 3D scanners collected during the adaptive machining can be used to perform trend analysis to evaluate further what’s happening with their part or tooling.

    8. Green Manufacturing

      With more of the world’s attention on climate change issues, manufacturers are considering what they can do to contribute to sustainability efforts. After reflecting on the impact manufacturing and each industrial revolution has had on our planet, it’s clear that the excessive and wasteful use of materials has contributed to pollution and the rise of global temperatures. In 2022, manufacturers will focus on replacing traditional materials with sustainable materials, including renewable energy, to help reduce their environmental footprint.

      green manufacturing sustainable manufacturing

      With climate change directly related to many industries whose processes result in greenhouse gas emissions, manufacturers are also looking at using green technologies that can help reduce harm to the environment. 3D scanners can help manufacturers reduce their environmental impact because the data they collect enables simulated parts, design scenarios and environments. Manufacturers can test products and their behavior under different conditions before production. By implementing lean and green manufacturing, less waste is produced, saving manufacturers money and energy while saving the environment.

    9. Agility

      In 2022, we’ll see more companies leveraging technology to become more agile. The past two years have shown the importance of being prepared to make changes quickly. Utilizing software powered by big data has helped companies respond to changes in how, where and when work can take place. We’ll continue to see more technology strategies implemented to intentionally strengthen agility for an organization.

      For example, with an archive of digitalized parts, it’s easy to analyze data and make changes to processes or parts quickly. The instant access to these digital twins, provided by accurate 3D scanners, makes it possible to discover and correct errors quickly, effectively accelerating the manufacturing process.

    10. Skills Training 

      AR and VR technologies are enabling more efficient skills training through simulation. Leveraging AR and VR technologies will help address the skills gap by making it easier and more cost-effective to upskill employees.

      AR/VR smart manufacturing

Ready to Begin Your Digital Transformation?

The most important key to these smart manufacturing trends in 2022 is accurate data because accurate data is at the core of all successful smart manufacturing trends. However, applying these trends requires an easy and accessible strategy for gathering, analyzing and storing accurate data. ATOS 3D scanners quickly collect the fast, precise, and reliable data needed to implement these initiatives now. If you are ready to begin your digital transformation now or want to learn about how to tap these smart manufacturing trends this year, contact a CAPTURE 3D team member today!

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