Outlook Spotlight

Transforming Manufacturing With Automation: Strategies From AMFG CEO Keyvan Karimi

Author: Camille Lewis Date of publication: 01.05.2023

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Transforming Manufacturing With Automation
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The manufacturing industry has entered 2023 on a slightly uncertain note. Supply chain disruptions continue to spark complications, and the shortage of skilled labour has maintained its impact as the industry’s Achilles’ heel. In combination with economic and geopolitical instability on a larger scale, the coming of the new year has brought with it a slight tone of apprehension, reflected in the recently released 2023 edition of Deloitte’s annual Industry Outlook: “there are indications that the near-term outlook may not be as bright”, confesses the introduction.

Simultaneously, it is precisely these unsettling conditions that encourage innovation to thrive.

Though taking bottlenecks as they come and striving to achieve a state of return to previous stability is of course integral for businesses to remain afloat, it is imperative that the challenges this era deals with are used as accelerators to break into new terrain. The solutions forged here may remedy not just the challenges of the immediate future, but the dilemmas woven into the very fabric of the industry.

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Armed with years of experience and extensive connections, founder and CEO of AMFG Keyvan Karimi continues to steer the company’s growing success through his professional engagements, powered with a strong belief that the company will characterise the manufacturing sphere in a year’s time. In this article, he explores how AMFG is laying the groundwork for prosperity in the future.

1 - Workplace Metamorphosis

A combination of changing hiring conditions and heightening churn rates is presenting a monumental challenge to the manufacturing workforce as we enter 2023. The way into the industry is becoming too steep for some industry workers to grasp, with fast-paced implementation of new technologies into the workforce changing skill requirements and barring many from entrance. Simultaneously, more workers are choosing to say goodbye to the sphere, leaving even more roles left unoccupied. Making such a large impact, this phenomenon is likely to resonate well into 2024.

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Though technological development may bear partial responsibility for these employment conditions, new technologies and digitisation can also be the key to creatively tackling them.

Increasingly, businesses across sectors are beginning to invest in linking up their operative gaps by way of digital methods, rethinking the conventions by which the workforce traditionally functions. Digital workers, machine-learning driven programs designed to execute traditionally human-led tasks, name one such invention.

In 2018, I spearheaded the rebranding of RP Platform to AMFG, short for Autonomous Manufacturing, with precisely this prospect in mind. We started out as a company primarily focused on 3D printing, a technology which holds great promise for production at scale but which still encounters roadblocks to success. We wanted to help these companies to smooth out their AM processes, and support them on their journey to scale their production with greater visibility and less effort than ever. Embracing digitisation in manufacturing continues to be imperative five years later, and remains at the heart of AMFG’s drive as a company.

The value of digitisation also extends to the roles undertaken by existing employees; deploying smart technologies tactically can help to rebuild job roles and reshape the responsibilities of those working in the sphere. Relocating repetitive and non-stimulating tasks to digital workers, for instance, can open up the floor for human employees to participate in more engaging and enjoyable work, a powerful incentive for sticking with the industry.

2 - Onshoring Reaches Dominance

Hot on the heels of the US’ Inflation Reduction Act signed last year, packed with incentives aimed at driving domestic sourcing and production, more countries around the world are seeking the benefits of bringing manufacturing back to home shores. Outside of the US, In 2024, it would not be unsurprising to see this trend brought to its fully realised culmination.

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Indeed, already, countries around the world are beginning to seriously investigate the advantages of making a similar move. The rising energy crisis, for instance, is compelling UK manufacturers in particular to consider more economically efficient modes of production.

The main sentiment underlying this trend is a widespread encouragement of closer-knit business relationships and more tightly connected production processes. Deepening links between different aspects of production, whether this means ironing out B2B ties or smoothing operative transitions, is another of AMFG’s key incentives.

In a 2020 interview with 3D Printing Industry, I recall discussing the importance of connectivity in manufacturing, especially for scaling businesses. “They will need to manage and execute [operations] across their supply chains and, very often, across multiple production centres. This requires integrated processes that can respond to real-time demands,” runs one section of the discussion.

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This sentiment has taken on even greater meaning today. In an industrial era characterised by volatile supply chains, and the shifting nature of production centre connections, maintaining a tight grasp over operational links in the midst of this metamorphosis will be critical to pursuing continued success.

3 - Openness to Digitisation

Though continued discourse surrounding ‘Industry 4.0’ may suggest otherwise, the manufacturing industry still remains largely hesitant when it comes to embracing digitisation.

The result is an industry that is paradoxically both moving towards technological advancements and pulling away from them. On one hand, the adoption of automation technologies in manufacturing contexts is at an all time high, for many of the reasons already explored in this piece. On the other, for a lot of manufacturing businesses, pen, paper and Excel spreadsheets are still the height of their technological investment.

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With stimuli like the global pandemic, changing global relations, and increasingly unpredictable climate phenomena, the value of flexibility is beginning to emerge with brighter colours than before. In 2024, the harsh contrast between manufacturers who lean into the smart manufacturing revolution and those who remain dubious is likely to soften, with flow from the latter into the former picking up pace.

AMFG stands at the vanguard of this sea change. In particular, we are intent on making the shift from manual processes to digital ones an accessible transition, encouraging widespread access to high levels of automation. AMFG’s recent achievement of a management knowledge transfer partnership (mKTP) in collaboration with Imperial College London stands as an emblem of this objective, inaugurated in order to develop the world’s first ever ‘autonomous solution’ for manufacturing.

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Slated to work closely with Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, the partnership will direct and connect some of the industry’s brightest minds towards the solution’s development. As articulated in our press release, this truly is “a monumental step towards bringing the vision of autonomous manufacturing into reality”.

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Optimism as a Mode of Productivity

Although ‘uncertainty’ may be the presiding descriptor of the manufacturing industry today, embracing the opportunity for new bricks to be laid - for new conventions to be established and for innovation to flourish - is equally as characteristic of this era.

From its 2016 beginnings, AMFG stands today at the forefront of this initiative. Spearheaded by Karimi’s strategic direction and innovative vision, AMFG’s software aims to provide an anchor to customers in the midst of the perpetually changing manufacturing scene.

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Backed by a deepening global mark, having supported hundreds of companies worldwide in their efforts to make the leap into digital manufacturing and scale their operations, AMFG continues to develop solutions which are set to bolster businesses through both the thick and the thin.

More than ever, businesses today know how dramatically and quickly our world can change. Researching and developing solutions with flexibility and resilience at their core, then, is one of the most important initiatives the manufacturing industry can work towards.

Disclaimer:

The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.

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