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New industry trends of drones, autonomous driving, and medical equipment customization

by: Jul 31,2023 155 Views 0 Comments Posted in CNC Machining

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In manufacturing, some of the trends we're tracking in 2022 include increased adoption of automation and digital technologies, a shift toward sustainable manufacturing efforts, and the 3D printing revolution, which is growing at an annual rate of about 60%.

Other trends we're watching closely include changes in the aviation, automotive, and medical industries that will dominate in 2022 and beyond. Gaining insight into what trends are going to be years into the future and keeping up with them at an early stage can set you up for long-term success.

1. Drones are making a splash in aviation

While drones are nothing new to the aviation industry, reports predict two major areas of growth for drones in the coming years: delivery and air taxis. ARK Investment Management estimates that over the next five years, drones will deliver more than 20 percent of all packages and drive e-commerce adoption.

The investment firm also estimates that drone delivery platforms will become a $50 billion industry by 2025. With top digital marketplaces like Amazon already embracing and testing the technology, ARK's prediction doesn't seem far away.

Looking further afield, global consultancy Roland Berger predicts that air taxis will be the transportation of the future. Based on a 2022 study of the industry, the company estimates there will be as many as 160,000 commercial air taxis by 2050, generating about $90 billion in annual revenue.

And, the study wasn't just based on predictions, either. Chinese company EHang is already taking drones into the air. The manufacturer produced 20 passenger and cargo air taxis in 2022 and plans to produce 600 more in 2023. The study also noted that with 110 cities and territories around the world committing to solutions in this space, there is an increasing number of new players as start-ups and established airlines grow.

2. Autonomous driving and electric vehicles drive the development of the automotive industry

Wittmann Electronics lists autonomous vehicles as one of the biggest trends for 2022 and beyond. The article predicts that within the next 3-5 years, self-driving cars will become mainstream. In addition to self-driving cars on the street, self-driving cars in corporate corridors, production floors and operations centers are expected to grow in popularity, driven by a range of features and increasing numbers of devices at affordable prices.

EVs are another automotive trend ARK is focusing on in 2022, as they approach the sticker price of natural gas-powered vehicles. The company forecasts a 20-fold increase in EV sales by 2025. Leaders in the industry are developing batteries that enable long-range vehicles at lower cost.

With the auto market undergoing major changes this year, technology tracker ZDNet is calling 2022 the year of the electric vehicle. For traditional automakers, however, there may be some obstacles. As this trend develops, key threats to the automotive industry include whether traditional automakers can successfully transform and whether they have the software and electrical engineering talent to succeed in this space.

3. Customization and automation design & the future of medical devices

As medical device designs have become more innovative over the past decade, the demand for niche and specialty components has grown. This trend suggests that the era is coming when OEMs will be able to purchase these specialized components "off the shelf." Until then, partnerships between medical device designers and manufacturers who can make these custom parts are key.

Using commodity products limits design opportunities and product capabilities. Alternatively, working with a custom manufacturer early on, especially one that helps during the design process, can experiment, test, and ultimately result in an optimized medical device that meets every criteria.

“We have a lot of customers telling us they wish they had come to us sooner,” says Gene Kleinschmit, product manager at Swedish engineering firm Sandvik. "Initially, they designed it based on what they could find, and eventually they became a person who was able to make a commodity product. They tried to design this new device out of a commodity product, and they worked hard to make it work; they couldn't change their design to make it work... as the product matures, it will get stronger." For example, if we look at a pacemaker product, when they first came out, they were very specialized...now the design Enough has changed that it's not a specialized product. There are many suppliers capable of making them. "

In the medical device manufacturing industry, the automation trend also experienced a peak last year and is expected to continue to grow in the future. The 2022 statistics released by the American Robotics Industry Association show that orders for robots in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical fields have increased by 69% year-on-year. 2022 will also be the first year that annual non-automotive robotics orders will exceed auto manufacturing orders, a shift for robot makers amid the global pandemic.

Dean Elkins, head of Yaskawa Motoman's handling division, said: "With the changes in people's personal buying behavior caused by the new crown virus, the use of robots has set a record number and can be used in a variety of ways. Fulfilling orders in the e-commerce space while allowing for proper social distancing behaviours." "Furthermore, robots help to a large extent in the production of personal protective and testing equipment and medical equipment needed to maintain the health and safety of our society."

Key benefits of robotic production automation include optimized productivity, improved quality, reduced costs, and increased safety, and we expect the move toward automated production in medical manufacturing to continue post-pandemic.

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