When COVID-19 hit, manufacturers worldwide raced to build as many ventilators as possible for patients. But traditional factories throughout the globe couldn’t fulfill the demand fast enough. With traditional and automated manufacturing processes still not as efficient as we need, could autonomous factories be the next industrial revolution we’ve been waiting for?

​What’s next – automation or autonomy?

As the world becomes more digital, manufacturers have turned towards automation to lower costs, increase productivity and reduce response times. But some people are asking, is there a better way? Automated processes still need maintenance and extensive human contact. Take 3D printing. You still need to input your instructions, which can be slow at the best of times. The manufacturing industry is still waiting for its big transformation – until now.

CloudNC uses machine learning technology to make manufacturing processes completely autonomous. Unlike automated machines which you manually program, autonomous machines will make the same thing faster, cheaper, and more reliably than any human. Thanks to the internet of things (IoT), smart factories can speak to each other, order parts, and reorganize supply chains faster than people can. Which, as we’ve seen with demand for ventilators for treating COVID-19, could save lives.

In this episode of Young Bright Minds: The Autonomous Factory, Theo Saville, CEO and Co-Founder of CloudNC, introduces his autonomous factory, explains why connected manufacturing is the way forward and how optimizing machine settings – sometimes these have millions of variables – could save lives. Find out more about Theo and other experts’ perspectives on how work is changing in our film, The Future That Works.