Manufacturing 4.0 is the name of the 4th industrial revolution. A new era of digitization, the internet of things, big data and even new technologies that are emerging as I write this piece. To get a feel for what I am describing think about your smartphone. Think back five years and what your smartphone could do. Now, think about what your smartphone can do today with new technologies that connect you to the world. Imagine five years from now, the power of your smartphone. The capabilities are almost unimaginable to envision. Apply that 15-year timeframe, the years 2012-2022, to manufacturing and the facts are clear.  Planning for the future of manufacturing, even for just five years from now, is exceedingly difficult.

To have 20-20 “future” vision requires an understanding of key technologies that are the DNA of Manufacturing 4.0 and next-generation manufacturing – NextGenM. These technologies include advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, horizontal/vertical integration, augmented reality, cloud/cybersecurity, virtual reality & simulation, industrial Internet of things, artificial intelligence, and big data. There are others, but these are key technologies that Stanley Black and Decker endorse on their journey to 4.0. (RMI and SBD will offer a series on Manufacturing 4.0 beginning in 2018)

If any or all of these technologies are not in your company’s “master plan” you need to act now. The power of 4.0 technologies will create a robust globally competitive manufacturing system putting more American made products on store shelves. Through the power of technology, innovation, and leaders who have 20-20 future vision, Maryland manufacturers will be globally successful.

Maryland, with a robust and visionary advanced manufacturing network, forward-thinking educational system and enlightened economic development leadership will no doubt become a shining star in a new constellation of “Made in America” states

Dr. Mike Galiazzo

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