Emissions and Sustainability Concerns Help Drive Move Toward Automated Manufacturing

(Credit: Ericsson IndustryLab)

by | Nov 18, 2021

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(Credit: Ericsson)

Most manufacturing will be automated in the coming years with many industry leaders saying cutting emissions and lessening environmental impacts are the most important factors in the transition, according to a new report by Ericsson IndustryLab.

The report says a significant transition in manufacturing is on the horizon, with 80% of it being automated within 10 years. The shift will include nine information communication technology tools, including artificial intelligence software, digital twins and automated machines and vehicles.

The number of companies that are implementing the tools and have complete renewable energy powered production is 45% higher than average for the surveyed companies, the report finds. It says that comes with a focus on being more sustainable in manufacturing.

Overall, environmental impacts were seen as the biggest reason to implement ICT production tools. Of those surveyed, 60% say it is very important to improve environmental impacts through future investments and implementation of such tools. That number was nearly 70% for manufacturers that used at least three of the production tools.

Reducing carbon emissions followed suit and was the only other reason the majority of respondents say was a factor in implementing automated manufacturing. More than 57% of those using one or two of the tools say lowering emissions was a factor and that increased to 66% of those with at least three tools in use.

Such tools are beginning to be implemented in a variety of ways across industries.

Automation has already been shown to cut emissions and energy costs such as by using artificial intelligence and smart technologies in everything from building construction to electric meters.

Entire areas of cities have started using digital twins to cut down on emissions. Las Vegas is using the technology to improve air quality, water management and carbon emissions from major buildings in the city.

Ericsson says it has implemented similar technologies that monitor energy usage in its 5G smart factory in Texas. That has helped the facility cut energy use by 24%, indoor water use by 75% and 97% in carbon emissions compared to similar operations that don’t use the technology, the company says.

Other areas the report respondents addressed regarding implementing automation were growing productivity, employee satisfaction and how successful they view their companies.

The report looked at manufacturing across industries, including food and beverage, textiles and automotive in 22 markets worldwide.

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