How Emerging Technologies Are Changing Modular Solutions

With the accelerated pace of today’s digital age, modular and PCB solutions must adjust the speed of development if they are going to meet industry demands and company needs—or risk being left behind.

Here are some emerging trends in tech that we’re excited about.

3D Printing Metal and Manufacturing in North America 

Manufacturing has already suffered severely over the last few years due to supply chain disruptions—especially electronics manufacturing, which relies heavily on countries like China to create and ship goods overseas. 

Circuit board production is leaning increasingly toward using metal 3D printing to solve these issues. 3D-printed metals can create circuit boards faster than traditional methods, and the production method is often more versatile. As a result, manufacturers with 3D printing technology can also boast cost savings while producing circuit boards in a timely fashion.

3D-printed PCBs allow manufacturers to control the supply, eliminate disruptions and slowdowns, and offer significant flexibility. While this has yet to be adopted on a mass scale and remains a niche methodology, research and development show promising outcomes for rapid prototyping and small-scale production. The ability to print prototypes in-house helps companies have a more realistic grasp of how their prototypes will function and allows them to make changes in real time. 

While 3D printing PCBs might still be a reasonable distance away, our team at Interceptor has focused on designing, developing, and manufacturing our product line fully in North America. This is currently the best way to circumvent supply chain issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Our automated system also alerts us whenever a manufacturer’s stock is low, so we can automatically order new parts, ensuring we don’t run out of critical components for our product line. 

Predictive Asset Maintenance and AI 

Part of our automatic ordering system is connected to our overall Predictive Asset Maintenance (PAM) strategy. According to a study by Deloitte, PAM can reduce the amount of time spent on maintenance planning by 20-50%, increase the efficient and effective use of machinery by 10-20%, and reduce your company’s total maintenance costs by 5-10%. This is a huge benefit for any company looking to create a financially sustainable business. 

Predictive Asset Maintenance ensures that the technology you work with every day is closely monitored, so shutdowns or required maintenance never come too soon or too late but exactly at the right moment. The omission of evaluation for a single piece of technology in your organization has repercussions for the entire company, production chain, or service offering. That’s why PAM is so important to monitor your entire digital landscape. 

Predictive maintenance is the future of embedded technologies, and more and more companies will claim that they can do it—but thus far, no one has a true predictive maintenance solution.

A Proactive Versus Reactive Approach to Maintenance 

Predictive maintenance offers a more proactive strategy for maintenance. Through the power of artificial intelligence (AI), you can use historical and real-time data to detect issues, assess the condition of your equipment, and prevent machinery breakdowns. This helps your output and improves product quality while mitigating and resolving maintenance issues before they disrupt operations. AI-powered predictive maintenance services offer solutions across many verticals with lucrative results. 

The advantages of AI-empowered PAM include early warnings before breakdowns, giving you plenty of time to repair and replace; 24/7 monitoring and availability; more time to prepare for and plan required service; a decrease in overall maintenance costs; and an increase in efficiency. All of these advantages help you manage your business, saving money and time. 

Predictive asset maintenance will revolutionize industries—oil and gas, construction, education, professional services, manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, and more—when it’s a viable end-to-end solution. But thus far, PAM is more of an idea than a reality. 

Predictive maintenance solutions have become buzzwords across tech-enabled industries, so much so that many companies already claim to have PAM solutions. They may very well be offering innovative new technologies—but they are not offering a true PAM solution. They may offer drones, vibration sensors, infrared cameras, and more to gather data on your equipment’s health and efficacy, but these technologies only offer predictive maintenance data, not the management that puts predictive maintenance into action. 

These predictive maintenance data gathering tools must still go through an SAP in the cloud to generate reports. Then someone must come in, read the report, and make a decision. This does not involve real-time decision-making, which will be the ultimate game-changer for companies moving forward. To truly innovate, this intelligence must be integrated into the hardware of your tech stack.

At the end of the day, no one has a true PAM solution that offers predictive maintenance management along with data gathering and analysis—yet. 

True PAM solutions will be able to offer intelligent asset management and deployment. They’ll help with asset tracking and smart monitoring to create a system that scales efficiently with new technology. Right now, the “PAM” software solutions on the market can only get you partway to true PAM— most are lacking the implementation component. 

At the end of the day, you want to partner with a company that offers more than just analytics software but provides the hardware to move from analytics to action. As we, along with the rest of the tech world, discuss and ideate on the topic of PAM, it’s clear that hardware integration will be key to developing true PAM solutions. 

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