These are the most important technologies of the future
5G, blockchain, quantum computers - which technologies will shape the future of the manufacturing industry? The big overview.
Many fields of technology are developing faster than ever before, and new ones are being added all the time. Many of them have the potential to greatly change Industry: they not only impact the way we produce, but also offer new business areas to produce for.
PRODUKTION introduces you to the current technologies of the future and bundles all the information on the most relevant future topics for the manufacturing industry in this overview.
Future technologies are those technologies that will move the economy and generate growth in the coming decades. The goal of most future technologies: greater efficiency and sustainability.
These are the most important future technologies for the manufacturing industry
In this overview, we would like to devote ourselves to the technologies and industries that have not yet fully arrived in everyday production, as is already the case in many places with many of the automotive-related topics such as electromobility, robotics or 3D printing, but which still have a lot of research and development to do and where there is a lot to discover. (Of course, this does not mean that there is nothing to discover in the other topics. Of course, these are not neglected in PRODUKTION either, but have their fixed place in our technology reporting).
These include the technologies of the future
- Augmented & Virtual Reality,
- Internet of Things (IoT),
- Artificial Intelligence,
- Quantum computing /quantum technology,
At the same time, we also give you an insight into entire fields of technology that will shape our future:
- Mobility of the future
- Energy generation of the future
- Space technology
Virtual & Augmented Reality
Virtual or augmented reality applications were initially more interesting for entertainment, but now there are many useful applications in industry.
Augmented reality is used, for example, to superimpose assembly instructions on the employee's field of vision while he is carrying out the assembly. This augmented reality can also be helpful for remote services.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that has been circulating in industry for some time, especially in connection with Industry 4.0. Basically, it's about using a wide variety of things (sensors on machines, controls and objects) to collect data and enriching it with additional information using the Internet.
The field of artificial intelligence is extremely diverse. Much of it revolves around intelligent algorithms, machine learning and predictive models. We answer the most important questions about AI in general here: "Artificial Intelligence - Explained in an Understandable Way". The article is about what artificial intelligence actually is, how it works or is programmed, and how it is changing the world.
In industry, artificial intelligence can be used primarily for optimization. There are many different approaches to this. Read, for example, how artificial intelligence optimizes laser processing. There, among other things, quality defects of weld seams are categorized by means of intelligent image recognition and process parameters are adjusted to avoid them.
However, AI not only optimizes processes, but also the work itself, for example in machining. There, AI solutions are used primarily as assistance systems designed to make work easier, more interesting and more varied. People at the machine no longer have to worry about controlling individual parameters, but can keep an eye on the overall process and apply their skills there.
The research and development field of quantum technology has gained considerable momentum in recent years. Quantum computers are gradually being put into operation in Germany, quantum sensors are being developed, and many start-ups are devoting themselves to the development of quantum algorithms or other peripherals for quantum-based processes. The aim is to win the race with China and the USA, or at least to keep up.
No, this is not about a faster network for your smartphone, but about what the 5G mobile communications standard can do for the manufacturing industry in the future. After all, it is the first standard to enable a radio network that responds in near real time - exactly what is needed to network production lines and entire productions.
Experts, such as Eckart Eberle, Siemens CEO Process Automation, are nearly unanimous that 5G will give Industry 4.0 a boost. (Hear more in this episode of Industry Insights: "Siemens CEO Process Automation on Industry 4.0 and 5G.")
But why does this require 5G, and what is different about it than good old WLAN? WLAN quickly reaches its performance limits and has difficulty with moving, mobile applications. In addition, companies can create their own campus networks, which can then be operated independently and adapted to their own requirements.
Blockchain is mainly associated by many with Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. But the term actually describes a principle for decentralizing databases, thus creating transparency and making the information more secure against manipulation.
In this process, data records are stored in so-called blocks, which are then verified and stored by thousands, if not millions, of computers. The verified block is then attached in encrypted form to a chain of data records - hence the name. This creates many unique records with traceable histories. In this way, digital transactions can be documented in a traceable manner.
Mobility of the future
We are in the midst of a mobility transformation and this is accompanied by many new technologies. At the forefront of this at the moment is electromobility. What impact this will have on the industry and what solutions the various sectors are offering is therefore a frequent topic of our reporting.
Yes, a lot of it revolves around cars, but alternative means of transportation such as air cabs, maglev trains or zero-emission ships are also being tested and could play an important role in future transportation.
Energy generation of the future
It's not just mobility that's changing; energy generation also needs to change to meet the challenges of today.
The energy and climate policy goals of the EU and the Federal Republic of Germany require a comprehensive restructuring of the current energy system. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) has commissioned a research project entitled "Long-term scenarios for the transformation of the energy system in Germany" to investigate what this should look like in the future. These scenarios will then be used to develop a strategy for achieving climate neutrality in 2050.
In these long-term scenarios, wind energy and photovoltaics will form the basis of the future energy supply. But hydrogen will also play an important role, especially in areas that are very difficult to decarbonize otherwise. This includes industry. You can find out how this will become CO2-neutral in our focus topic CO2-neutral industry.
If the various research projects on this future technology are successful, nuclear fusion could also be a real alternative for energy generation. So far, however, there is no fusion reactor that delivers more electricity than is initially put into it; only one so far achieves the energy balance
Space offers a number of opportunities, especially for research, but it can also be used to lay the foundations for the development of new technologies. Therefore, space travel and other space technologies are becoming more and more important.
Technologies for space and outer space hold several opportunities and new business fields for German industry. This is also emphasized by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher: "One must not forget that one euro invested in space brings four to ten euros into the economy. That means it is a multiplier, industry and research are closely linked and that is a very good symbiosis."
Some companies have already recognized this opportunity: For example, Porsche SE is investing in the Bavarian rocket start-up Isar Aerospace. This is being done out of the company's conviction "that low-cost and flexible access to space will provide innovations in many industrial sectors." Another example: the U.S. aerospace group Boeing and the Augsburg-based technology group MT Aerospace are cooperating to jointly build Mars rockets in the future.