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AI Can Enable a New Era in Manufacturing Sector

Artificial intelligence can enable a new era in the digital transformation journey for industry, offering new opportunities as well as challenges. A new white paper, published by the World Economic Forum together with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, examines the opportunities and proposes a step-by-step approach to overcome the challenges.

Unlocking Value from Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing, with input from industry, technology and academic experts, highlights over 20 case studies from organizations on the impact, feasibility and scalability of AI in manufacturing. It identifies several opportunities and lessons from the community on how to increase operational efficiency, sustainability and workforce engagement in manufacturing and value chains by using AI.

The white paper is an output of the ongoing partnership between the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains and the Platform for Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The complexity of current challenges impacting manufacturers calls for the need to go beyond the traditional means of driving productivity. Artificial intelligence can help companies unlock innovation, resilience and sustainability. We look forward to working with the Network of Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global manufacturing community to support its deployment at scale,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Production, Member of Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

“This paper showcases the tremendous value potential of AI in manufacturing. Not only in terms of efficiency but also in terms of sustainability and worker engagement. The insights were generated thanks to a collaborative effort by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution affiliate in Türkiye, the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains and the Platform for Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at World Economic Forum.

Over 20 use cases were collected from more than 35 senior executives and technology experts from more than 10 industries, including automotive, electronics, energy, steel, and chemicals. These cases demonstrate how leading manufacturers have successfully captured value from AI applications in manufacturing and cover six main areas: quality, production process, maintenance, , supply chains, health and safety and energy management.

While opportunities enabled by AI in manufacturing are promising and attracting many leaders, organizations are looking for a common framework on how to implement AI solutions and ensure a successful return on investment. Based on the consultations, this white paper summarizes the six main barriers to the deployment of AI in manufacturing and presents a step-by-step process to overcome barriers.

The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution global network is a platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration, bringing together the public and private sectors to maximize technological benefits to society while minimizing the risks associated with Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.

Download the paper here

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