The Manufacturing Jobs of the Future
When PwC surveyed U.S. manufacturers in November 2015, 12.5% of respondents had already adopted virtual-reality and augmented-reality technologies, and another 23.3% planned to adopt them by 2018. Manufacturers that hire designers who are proficient in virtual reality can test out product designs in animmersive environment, guide employee training in simulated real-world situations, and simulate production lines to identify weak spots before any physical work begins.
About 35% of U.S. manufacturers currently use data generated by smart sensors to enhance their operating processes, according to a 2014 survey by PwC. As the industry transitions to heavily data-driven operations and as shop-floor equipment increasingly includes embedded sensors, expert technicians will have to manage those sensors to monitor machine conditions, allowing for predictive, preventative maintenance.
When massive amounts of information get relayed to sensors on the factory floor every day, someone will need to manage that data. Specialized IT workers will take on the tasks of finding new efficiencies by capturing insights provided by the IoT and, perhaps most important, keeping that data secure.
Automation in the form of intelligent industrial robots means the factory worker of the future may need to perform less and less physical labor on the assembly line. But those robotic machines are going to require maintenance. Companies will need to bring in skilled workers who can program and repair the robots to keep production running.
With innovative materials such as custom-milled alloyed metals playing a larger role in how products are created, advanced manufacturing goods can now be produced quicker and with better reliability. Expert material scientists will be able to develop new components using methods such as 3-D printing and advanced additive manufacturing machines, resulting in high-performing parts that couldn't be made previously.