U.S. manufacturers will increase investments for predictive maintenance technologies in 2015. The proliferation of better and cheaper sensor technologies combined with the trend of connected factories will allow for greater opportunity to implement predictive maintenance technologies that will cut downtime and boost bottom lines.

Over the past four years I have been involved in an array of different predictive maintenance technology projects. Two such companies are Dahlonega, Ga.-based Polymer Aging Concepts, which has developed sensors that predict when to replace the insulation in motors, generators, or dry transformers before failure occurs, and Atlanta-based Jeneer Group, which developed an integrated down well sensor system that signals pump conditions for on and off cycles in landfills. These companies serve rapidly growing markets, and customers are lining up to do business with them.

A recent article in Reliable Plant entitled “Global machine condition monitoring equipment market to reach $2.1B by 2015” stated, “The need for eliminating catastrophic breakdowns and unnecessary maintenance costs in production processes has and will continue to drive the adoption of condition monitoring solutions across several industries.”

5. Increased investment in capital equipment

With the convergence of several predictions outlined above, such as the increase in applications of sensor technologies and general industry growth, 2015 will be the year in which we will see a true renaissance in domestic manufacturing.

Improved bottom lines will drive replacement of aging legacy equipment and investment in new capital equipment that performs better, more efficiently and more reliably. Software will also assist in making current equipment more efficient.

6. Manufacturing will grow at a higher rate than GDP

U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) historically has been a marker against which industries peg their overall performance.

A report issued in December 2014 by the Institute of Supply Management stated that manufacturing revenues are expected to increase in 15 different manufacturing industries in 2015. It also asserted that capital expenditures, a major driver in the U.S. economy, are expected to increase by 3.7% in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, 67% of respondents to the ISM survey expect revenues to be greater in 2015 than in 2014, and the panel of respondents – all purchasing and supply executives – expect a 5.6% net increase in overall revenues for 2015, compared to a 3.6% increase reported for 2014 over 2013 revenues.

This momentum, combined with the factors outlined above, will contribute to a boom in manufacturing in 2015, helping the industry outpace the GDP for the first time in a long time.

John Zegers is the director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing. He has nearly 30 years of manufacturing experience, which includes extensive time spent as a manufacturer’s representative. He also has significant experience with original equipment manufacturers in the medical, automotive, heavy equipment and communications industries.