The COVID-19 pandemic has not only hindered global manufacturing output but has also hastened the shift toward Industry 5.0. Digitalization and automation are rapidly shaping business strategy, with nearly 90% of companies embracing digital transformation in the short term. In an effort to become more resilient and shock-proof, manufacturers, especially in the West, are compelled to use digital processes to reconfigure their supply chains and move their production lines closer to the point of consumption. This is expected to accelerate the transition to fully automated lights-out manufacturing processes.
In a lights-out environment, the manufacturing process is fully automated, with minimal human intervention required to run day-to-day operations. Although manufacturing ‘lights out’ is not intended to eliminate human labor, it will create the opportunity for a skilled workforce to add value to tasks that require complex problem-solving capability, creativity, and ingenuity. The future lights-out production space will also drive new opportunities in condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of automated assets.