Manufacturing companies have a storied history with technology. From the days of the Industrial Revolution, new machines and assets have helped to generate an incredible number of advances across the entire industry. But while things have certainly come a long way since the 1700s and 1800s, by no means has manufacturing tech reached its full potential. In fact, modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals can find an increasing number of opportunities in this industry.
According to TechCrunch contributor Vicki Holt, the demand for STEM-based talent is leading to a “modern-day” incarnation of the Industrial Revolution.
“Thanks to massive advancements in automation technology and analytics software, the American manufacturing industry of today is a far cry from the assembly lines and manual labor of the past,” Holt wrote. “Manufacturing in the 21st century is a high-tech fusion of software and mechanical engineering, automated processes and complex production equipment, 3D CAD models and on-demand parts.”
Like other industries, manufacturing has a growing need for IT help. Organizations in the present day have to be swift, agile and deliberate in their daily operations, and advanced technology is the only way to find these things. Professionals with STEM skill sets should highly consider the possibility of working for a manufacturing company and helping it to embrace the future.
3D printing could change the manufacturing game
There are a number of new enterprise tech assets that have attracted media attention in recent memory. Solutions like smartphones and the cloud have been touted as new standards for businesses of all kinds. This has led to an increase in hiring for IT professionals who have cloud computing training and similar knowledge under their belts.
Perhaps one of the most talked-about advancements to appear in the last few years is 3D printing. The concept of being able to “print” an item in sort of the same way that one would print words onto paper has some fantastical applications. While its use is not yet common, 3D printing is likely to make big waves in areas like the manufacturing industry. According to 3D printing consultant Joris Peels, a lot of the impact will potentially have to do with small parts that are difficult to make using conventional methods of manufacturing.
“3D printing builds up an object layer by layer,” Peels wrote for Quora. “You build up the loaf of bread slice by slice. This lets you produce geometries that are not possible by other means. A ball in a ball. Or a ball in a ball in a ball in a ball for example. Other traditional manufacturing built up things by cutting away material or making a mold whereby you were restricted to the ability to make a mold that would pump out many copies of the thing.”
So while there may not be large parts created by these machines anytime soon, 3D printers will likely see an increasing appearance in manufacturing facilities. The ability to print small, intricate components that were once not possible to create easily will likely be a huge boon for manufacturers – not to mention the STEM professionals that they hire to optimize the machines in question.
STEM has a home in manufacturing
While it’s true that a great number of industries have found incredible new uses for modern technology, manufacturing is a particularly interesting use case. There are a significant number of ways in which machines and software – not to mention the people that operate them – have revolutionized the field of manufacturing. This is something that IT workers and other STEM-based professionals should consider when weighing their options regarding where to take their careers. There is significant opportunity in manufacturing for skilled, certified tech staffers to excel.