Many companies are starting to use artificial intelligence (AI) in manufacturing. This is an exciting development because AI can help manufacturers design, make and ship products more sustainably. From lowering waste through defect detection, to generative design to reduce prototype waste, to smart energy management and predictive maintenance, manufacturers can use AI to make a big impact on their environmental footprint.
With AI, manufacturers can detect and predict defects in the factory. This reduces waste because it allows them to only create parts that will be sold or put into production instead of scrapping defective items after failed assembly attempts. The ability to reduce waste is critical to improving both the bottom line and your environmental impact. This is especially important for items like electronics, where the internals can be very complicated, expensive to manufacture, and use rare elements.
Another route to reduced waste and lowering the materials used inside products is generative design. You can take requirements for your product like weight-bearing needs and use AI to design the structural integrity needed whilst reducing the overall amount of materials used.
AI also enables sustainable manufacturing by helping companies identify energy inefficiencies so they can implement changes that will lower their environmental impact as well as save them money on their monthly utility bills. Combined with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), as well as identifying and making recommendations, AI can dynamically optimise energy usage throughout the day, leaving staff able to focus on other areas of opportunity. Energy usage can also be monitored via Digital Twins to help decision-makers change layouts, configurations, and processes to improve efficiencies.
The use of Internet of Things (IoT) also gives us another route for reducing waste and energy usage: predictive maintenance. Machines that are not running optimally can use more energy and part failures mean the production and shipping of replacements. Better maintenance and reduction in faults can help you bring down your impact over time.
Inventory and production optimisation can help reduce the carbon footprint of your supply chain by batching up orders intelligently and using more energy-efficient delivery methods based on price, shipping time, and environmental impact.
As you can see, there is a wide range of sustainable business benefits to be had from AI. If your company is struggling with waste management or energy usage, implementing AI could help bring significant improvements within reach. We’ll be talking more on this topic in later blog posts, but do get in touch if you’d like to talk to our CEO about your opportunities for sustainable manufacturing.