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. Switching to a lights-out manufacturing process can potentially save up to 20% of labor costs and bring about a 30% increase in productivity output. Only a handful of companies currently operate in a lights-out environment; others are expected to gradually ‘phase into’ a fully automated manufacturing process over the long term. While some industries may find the lights-out scenario attractive, operational complexity could hold them back. Automotive, general manufacturing, electronics and electrical components, and logistics and warehousing are four major industries expected to make rapid advancements toward a fully automated ‘lights out’ environment in the short term.This study explores the top nine technologies companies must consider switching to a lights-out manufacturing environment. These include the internet of things (IoT), robotics, generative design, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital twins, 5G, and cloud computing. The study covers market potential, key drivers, patent landscape, regional insights, and growth opportunities for each of these technologies. The study also explores future manufacturing tenets driving key shifts in business models: • Transactional to Subscription-based (e.g., robotics-as-a-service) • Packaged to on-demand (e.g., shared manufacturing) • Disassociated to connected (e.g., connectivity and network hosts) • Segregated to integrated (e.g., integrated data platforms) • Independent to distributed (e.g., distributed manufacturing)The convergence of transformational Mega Trends, disruptive technologies, and innovative business models will result in four major growth opportunities in this space: • Rise of micro-factories—smaller, decentralized factories that require less space, energy, and materials • Grid manufacturing—agile, distributed manufacturing process capable of delivering customized goods • Manufacturing-to-Zero-as-a-Service—‘innovating to zero’ manufacturing process, resulting in zero defects, zero waste and zero-accidents • IIOT platforms—connected IIOT platforms that host an extensive ecosystem of alliances that bring complementary capabilities to optimize the manufacturing process
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