Industrial engineering and IIoT expansion
Experts have been wondering if 2017 is indeed the year where the complete worldwide movement toward smart factories begins. The Internet of Things is slowly making its way into the factory, interconnecting everything inside of it, and producing large swathes of performance and operational data that needs to be analyzed by factory employees. The intertwining of internet and industry has produced a new name for IoT in industry: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
It is predicted, quite bravely, that 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020. Some believe the figure is too overestimated. Many of these will involve automated machinery and sensors running in smart factories. We are heading for the fourth industrial revolution (Industrie 4.0), a transformation of manufacturing never seen before.
Even the interconnectedness of our cities and the utilities that power and provide for them is slowly changing to the IIoT-future, and engineers are the ones who have to make it happen.
The implementation of IIoT into industrial engineering means that the world will see more interconnected wearable technologies making their way into factories and mining operations. Data-providing sensors embedded into machinery and co-bots (robots designed to interface with humans) assisting and sometimes replacing workers will generally make an industrial complex work faster and more safely than ever before.
The industrial engineers that work in this field will see salaries of $83,470 this year, according to RevPart's predictions. RevPart, an engineering company which specializes in rapid prototyping and 3D printing for several engineering industries, has published their outlook on growing engineering industries with the most attractive salaries for the year 2017. (Engineering Employment Outlook from RevPart ).
And experts are starting to preach a message of: "Adapt or die."
"No industry produces more data than the manufacturing sector, and all of that information can be applied to making smarter business decisions. Companies need to participate in capturing that value. There is $65 billion worth of obsolete industrial automation in use right now. It's only going to get more expensive to repair and replace it. Companies have to commit to modernizing," said Brian Fourtney, a Global Business Manager at Rockwell Automation, speaking to Plastics Today.
(For more news on industrials wearable technology see our article: Industrial business and workforce benefit wearable technology
Space, the final frontier
What was once considered a pipe dream for many scientists and engineers in the field is becoming a reality, thanks to the vision of South African-born CEO Elon Musk. His aerospace engineering company SpaceX, with the help of NASA, have a 2018 deadline. That deadline involves transporting the company's aerospace equipment to Mars. Upon the success of that mission, Musk plans to send humans to Mars in just under ten years.
An engineer in the aerospace field can look forward to a cool median salary of $107,830 per year. But it is not all sunshine and roses when working for this industry. It was revealed back in 2015 that working as an intern in SpaceX required a 60 to 80 hour work week. The compensation may be good, but the stress that comes with working in the aerospace industry - which sometimes depends on precise results - might not be entirely worth it. However, if you can handle those hours, you'd be part of one of the most celebrated engineering industries in the world.
But before you decide whether or not you belong in the aerospace industry, one question needs to be answered: As a child, did you play with Lego? The interns from SpaceX seem to have this in common - as well as being engineers of course.
Nordrum, Amy. "Popular Internet of Things Forecast of 50 Billion Devices by 2020 Is Outdated." IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. 18 Aug. 2016. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
"Plastic Injection Molding Prototyping Services." RevPart. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
"PlasticsToday." PlasticsToday. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
Research, Persistence Market. "Smart Factory Market Estimated to Grow Strongly by 2021." SAT Press Releases. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
"SpaceX Will Launch Private Mars Missions as Soon as 2018." Space.com. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.