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Teaching activity

Artificial Intelligence in Production Lines: A-Level Business in the News

Mike Mills

21st November 2023

Have a go at this teaching activity, which includes a downloadable worksheet and suggested answers.

What's the story?

Factories are increasingly adopting AI tools like sensors, computer vision, and predictive analytics to boost efficiency and reduce waste. A recent survey saw 89% of manufacturing executives aim to implement AI.

Sensors powered by AI can monitor equipment for signs of failure by analysing audio data and vibrations. This enables factories to schedule maintenance and avoid costly downtime. PepsiCo is one such business using this technology.

AI enables the processing and analysis of massive amounts of data. This helps factories foresee and get ready for possible disruptions in the production process. Even short downtimes can be very costly for manufacturers and lead to missing critical sales windows. It can also improve visibility into complex supply chains and spot bottlenecks.

Computer vision AI can be trained to recognise product defects, spotting issues human eyes would miss as items move quickly along production. It helps catch surface flaws in products like computer chips.

Research explores using AI to share capacity between manufacturers and improve logistics. It can also give consumers insight into supply chains and materials used.

AI adoption raises questions around impacts on factory workers. Some firms explore using AI to improve worker safety. But the long-term implications for jobs remain uncertain.

PepsiCo sees AI as enhancing efficiency to better serve workers and customers, not just future-proofing factories. The technology is assisting humans rather than replacing them outright.

How factories are deploying AI on production lines

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Mike Mills

Mike is an experienced Head of Department, teacher and A-level Business examiner. Mike is also a popular presenter on tutor2u CPD courses and student workshops.

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