I think advanced manufacturing is going to affect essentially every industry. It’s really anyone who’s making anything. Advanced manufacturing to me means automation, robotics, and all sorts of other developments, new processes, new technologies that are resulting in more productivity in the manufacturing environment.
In the past, companies were playing this wage arbitrage, looking for low-cost labor environments. And a lot of that manufacturing went to China. And China has seen now, even in the last decade, manufacturing wages are up about 3x, over the last 15 years up about 5x. On top of the supply-chain disruption, you have wage inflation internationally and that’s driving companies to look for a different place to manufacture, bringing manufacturing home, bringing it closer to the point of consumption.
I’ve covered the additive manufacturing industry, also more commonly known as 3D printing for about 15 years, and the industry is really still in its early stages, even though the technology was invented in the late 80s. And the industries that additive manufacturing are impacting the most are aerospace, medical, general industrial, including auto.
I think U.S. companies are going to increasingly use new technologies, new processes, increasingly use automation, robotics to increase productivity, increase efficiency, and increase the speed with which they can get products to market.
Artificial intelligence is going to have a big impact on manufacturing and the design of parts, specifically through the use of additive manufacturing equipment. So, you can use generative AI to produce designs that can only be manufactured with additive manufacturing or 3D printing equipment. So this opens up all sorts of cool applications, really interesting designs, because the computer is going to think up the best design for the part in terms of the strength of the part, the weight of the part, and you end up getting these parts and designs that look very organic that a human probably would never think up.