How AI Is Supercharging Product Development

Manufacturers regularly face various obstacles — from unexpected machinery breakdowns to poor product delivery. However, this can be easily fixed with modern technology in place. Companies may increase operational efficiency, launch new products, and customize product designs by leveraging AI solutions. How does that work? Let’s figure that out!

AI Applications in the Manufacturing Sector

AI Applications in the Manufacturing Industry

AI use in industrial facilities is gaining popularity among businesses. According to Capgemini’s research, more than half of European companies (51%) are deploying AI solutions, with Japan (30%) and the United States (28%) coming in second and third.

Hundreds of factors influence the manufacturing process. While these are difficult for humans to detect, machine learning algorithms can accurately forecast the influence of specific factors in such complicated circumstances. Machines still function below human skills in other areas involving language or emotions, limiting their acceptance. But where exactly is AI used?

1. Building Digital Twins

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a real manufacturing system. In the manufacturing industry, there are digital twins of certain equipment assets, full machinery systems, or specific system components. The most popular applications for digital twins include real-time diagnosis, tic and evaluation of manufacturing processes, prediction and visualization of product performance, and so on.

Data science engineers use supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods to educate digital twin models to improve the physical system by analyzing historical and unlabeled data from continuous real-time monitoring. These algorithms aid in the optimization of production scheduling, quality enhancements, and maintenance.

2. Generative Design

Generative design is a method where software generates some outputs to fulfill certain requirements. Designers or engineers use generative design software to investigate AI product design options by entering design goals and factors like materials, production processes, and cost limitations. The approach employs machine learning techniques to understand what works and what doesn’t with each iteration.

The program finds numerous methods to create a simple object, such as a chair. You must enter the specifications such as four legs, elevated seat, weight requirements, minimal materials, etc. Based on the input data, the solution generates a number of design possibilities and features.

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3. Predictive Maintenance

Manufacturers use AI technology to analyze sensor data to identify future downtime and accidents. AI systems assist manufacturers in forecasting when or whether functioning equipment will fail, allowing maintenance and repair to be arranged prior to the breakdown. Manufacturers can enhance productivity while lowering the cost of equipment failure thanks to AI applications for predictive maintenance.

4. Assembly Line Optimization

Furthermore, by incorporating Artificial Intelligence into your IoT environment, you may generate many automation opportunities. Supervisors, for example, may be notified when equipment operators exhibit indications of weariness. When a piece of equipment fails, the system might initiate contingency planning or other reorganization actions.

5. Quality Assurance

Traditionally, quality assurance was a manual procedure that required a highly qualified engineer to ensure that electronics and microprocessors were made correctly. All of its circuits were properly set up. Modern processing techniques may now automatically assess whether an object was manufactured appropriately. This sorting may be done automatically and in real-time by putting cameras at important places around the production floor.

Optimize Your Product Development!

AI and machine learning (ML) are making significant contributions to expediting new product development — from startups to companies rushing to introduce new products. Today, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster have 15,400 job openings for DevOps and product development engineers using AI and machine intelligence. According to Capgemini, the connected goods industry will be between $519 billion and $685 billion this year as revenue models based on AI and machine learning become more popular. And the above are just some of the AI applications. More to come!

Optimizing Plant Processes: Best Practices for Efficiency and Cost Reduction

Industrial plants form the backbone of global economic infrastructures, producing essential goods that sustain everyday life while creating vast employment opportunities. In a world characterized by fierce international competition, dynamic consumer demands, unstable costs and unpredictable disruptions, the imperative for cost reduction within these plants has never been more critical.

As we delve deeper into strategic cost-reduction measures, it’s impossible to overlook the revolutionary impact of digitalization. For an extended insight, you’re invited to read more about how embracing digitalization not only makes manufacturing processes safer and more robust but also significantly smarter, fortifying the industry’s future.

cost reduction measures in industrial plants

By implementing these strategic cost-reduction measures, plants refine their operational processes, leading to improved profitability and enhanced overall efficiency.

Adopting Lean Manufacturing: The Gateway to Operational Excellence

Lean manufacturing, a concept born from Toyota’s production system, champions eliminating waste without compromising product quality. It’s a pivotal strategy for plants aiming to curtail manufacturing costs. By identifying and mitigating waste in all forms—be it through overproduction, time delays, unnecessary transportation, over-processing, excess inventory, redundant motions, or defects—plants stand to benefit from enhanced operational efficiency and reduced costs.

Key techniques include:

  1. Value Stream Mapping (VSM): This visual tool is instrumental in tracking the product’s journey from raw material to the final consumer, highlighting areas where waste occurs and providing a roadmap for operational improvement within the plant.
  2. Kanban System: Focusing on just-in-time production, this method ensures that production processes are tightly synchronized with demand, significantly reducing inventory costs and streamlining workflow on the plant floor.

Embracing Technological Integration: The Digital Revolution in Plant Processes

The evolution of plant operations is tightly bound to technological advancements. Digital transformation, facilitated by developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics, is critical in enhancing process efficiency, reducing operational downtime and minimizing errors.

Strategies for technological integration include:

  • Predictive Maintenance: This involves using sensors and advanced algorithms to predict equipment failures before they occur, thus preventing costly downtime and extending machinery life.
  • Automation: Implementing robotics and automation tools decreases the need for human intervention—thereby reducing labor costs—and increases accuracy and efficiency in repetitive, mundane tasks.

Optimizing the Supply Chain: Strategic Procurement Management

Procurement expenses, especially concerning raw materials, components and supplies, make up a significant portion of a plant’s operational costs. Therefore, streamlining the supply chain process is an effective avenue for cost reduction.

Best practices in supply chain optimization include:

  1. Supplier Negotiation and Consolidation: By renegotiating terms with existing suppliers or finding more cost-effective alternatives, plants can significantly reduce material costs. Consolidating purchases with a single supplier may also lead to bulk discounts.
  2. Just-in-Time Inventory: This strategy minimizes inventory holding costs by ensuring materials are ordered and received only as needed, reducing storage expenses and the risks associated with dead inventory.

Investing in Workforce Expertise and Robust Quality Control

A competent, skilled workforce is a plant’s greatest asset. Employees who are well-versed in operating advanced machinery contribute to the plant’s efficiency, minimize production bottlenecks and reduce errors, ultimately saving costs.

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Furthermore, continuous investment in quality control ensures that product defects are kept to a minimum, thus avoiding the financial drain associated with product recalls or waste.

Enhancing Plant Operations Through Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency represents a dual opportunity for plants, offering cost savings while bolstering their commitment to sustainability. By integrating energy-efficient technologies and practices, such as high-efficiency motors, advanced HVAC systems and energy management solutions, plants can significantly reduce power consumption, leading to lower utility bills.

Furthermore, transitioning to renewable energy sources, like solar or wind power, positions plants as environmentally responsible community members. These green initiatives resonate positively with eco-conscious consumers and stakeholders, potentially attracting new market segments.

Ultimately, energy efficiency is not merely a cost-cutting measure but a transformative component of a plant’s long-term operational and branding strategy.

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The Significance of Holistic Cost Reduction Strategies

A comprehensive cost-reduction plan examines all operational facets, considering both direct and indirect costs. Such an exhaustive approach enables plants to identify potential savings across their operations while maintaining, if not improving, production quality and efficiency. In this vein, cost-saving measures aren’t just about cutting expenses but strategically enhancing the plant’s entire operational ecosystem.

Eco-Efficiency: Reducing Costs While Protecting the Environment

One prime example of a holistic cost-reduction strategy is improving energy efficiency. Plants consume substantial amounts of energy and focusing on eco-efficiency can lead to significant savings. Measures can include:

  • Conducting detailed energy audits.
  • Investing in renewable energy sources.
  • Upgrading to energy-efficient machinery.
  • Retrofitting plants with LED lighting.

Such initiatives not only reduce energy bills but also potentially qualify the plant for tax credits, all while minimizing environmental impact.

Final Note

In an era where efficiency and sustainability are more than buzzwords, plants must adopt a multifaceted approach to cost reduction. Plants can thrive in a competitive market by strategically enhancing various aspects of operations—from lean manufacturing and technological integration to supply chain management and energy efficiency.

All You Need to Know About the Original Equipment Manufacturer

Although they are among the most important parties in computer manufacturing, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is often overlooked. The majority of people only see the final product and don’t understand the work that goes into producing computers, laptops, printers, etc. either.

In this article, we will shed some light on this process through the role of the OEM. First, we will identify OEM is and determine how they work. Then we will compare OEM to other parties such as aftermarket and ODM to provide further practical context.

Let’s get started!

What Does OEM Mean?

OEM stands for the original equipment manufacturer. So, the term is used to refer to companies that produce parts to be used by other companies to create larger-scale finished products.

For example, a company tasked with building an electrical train track may outsource the production of hardware for the track to an electrical OEM. That way, they can focus on the electrical side and software products, and use a specialist OEM to take care of the hardware.

Apart from electrical engineering, OEMs are common in industries such as computer manufacturing and the auto industry. This is typical because end products in these industries are made up of several different parts, as shown by the diagram below of an electric train.

what is OEM

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s take a closer look at how OEMs work.

How Do OEMs Work?

OEMs can operate in different ways. First of all, they can be hired by other companies on a freelance basis. For example, an engineering company working on a one-off job may require unique parts to complete the project. In that case, it makes sense to outsource the production of those parts to an OEM who will work on the project on a temporary basis.

On the other hand, an OEM may produce and sell some parts regularly. For example, a spark plug for a car is something that an auto-parts manufacturer would regularly produce. Companies can simply buy the parts like any other product. In some cases, an automatic order and invoice may be set up between the OEM and the purchasing company.

Finally, some companies hire OEM partners to produce parts for their end products as contract manufacturers. The OEM is paid to produce the parts and gets a share of the revenue on products they contribute to. Overall, it becomes more of a collaborative process. The OEM works with the partner company to manufacture a specific part for a larger scale project as opposed to selling a product that they already manufacture.

It is important to note that OEMs are not tied down to a single company. Depending on the size of the OEM they may partner with multiple companies on different types of projects.

Original Equipment Manufacturer vs. Aftermarket

It is important to understand the difference between OEM and other similar parties that provide parts for end products. First, let’s take a look at aftermarket manufacturers and establish how they differ from OEMs.

Aftermarket products are parts that can be used to replace parts manufactured by an OEM. The first difference to note is that aftermarket products are generic, meaning they can be used for a wide variety of similar products.

OEM versus aftermarket part

For example, a wire pulling compound designed to be compatible with all types of cables and conduits could be considered an aftermarket product. On the other hand, an OEM manufactures quality products for use as part of a specific end product, not for general use.

As they are generic, aftermarket products are also much cheaper than OEM products. Aftermarket products are also readily available, unlike OEM products. These differences are summed up perfectly in the graphic below in the context of the automotive industry.

Companies working on an end product with a fast-approaching deadline may resort to aftermarket products for a quick fix if an OEM product becomes obsolete. However, despite the convenience they provide, you may have to sacrifice quality by choosing to use aftermarket products.

As we mentioned earlier, aftermarket products are not designed for a specific product. So, in the long run, it may be best to solve the issue with the help of the OEM. Most OEM parts should have a warranty, so you can also save on production costs by going back to your OEM partner.


ODM stands for original design manufacturer. It refers to a company that produced the initial design for a product.

As we know, an OEM manufactures products and sells them to other companies to be used in a larger-scale product. On the other hand, an ODM creates a product design and hires another company to manufacture the product using their product specifications.


In summary, an ODM designs products and an OEM produces them. The graphic below sums up the difference nicely.

When purchasing parts in industries such as electrical engineering, it is critical to understand this distinction. If you are looking for a very specific type of part with specifications, you may need to consult an ODM to come up with a design for an original product.

It’s also worth noting that some companies may be an ODM and OEM rolled into one. If you can find a partner like this, it is probably the best scenario. You can cut out the middleman and collaborate on design and manufacturing with the same company.

Also Read: How AI is Supercharging Product Development

In Closing

In summary, OEM stands for an original equipment manufacturer. OEMs can be very helpful. Outsourcing to OEMs is quite common, particularly in industries such as engineering and car manufacturing, where many individual parts make up the end product.

Depending on your business and the project you are working on you can hire an OEM on a freelance basis, or partner with them. In the long term, partnering is probably the best option, as you can regularly call on the OEMs’ expertise.

You should also keep in mind the differences between an OEM and both ODMs and aftermarket products. ODM stands for original design manufacturer while aftermarket products are cheaper, generic parts that can be used to replace OEM parts at short notice.

Keep these tips in mind when outsourcing. Good luck!