I experienced the end of the Third Industrial Revolution as I began my career in manufacturing. Closed government and private networks gave way to an open network called the Internet.
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Information technology and operations technology are unlikely candidates for a successful marriage. But to ensure that manufacturers thrive in the digital age, OT and IT must find ways to work together—or to at least, as on Tinder, swipe right to indicate interest.
Manufacturers who have deployed the digital or smart factory have put down their pencils, found new uses for their clipboards and closed their spreadsheet programs in favor of using real-time data gleaned from condition monitoring of their machinery.
SHANGHAI—The $150 million “factory of the future” that the Swiss innovator ABB announced nearly a year ago is becoming reality in this enormous city’s Pudong New Area.
What do you think of when you hear the word factory? Probably some huge space, with machines humming and personnel walking around with notepads in their hands.
Industrial robots are becoming easier to program, more versatile, more cost-effective, more accurate and more mobile. These changes are lowering barriers to entry, shortening return on investment and making robots a more practical investment.
The second level of machining automation is here. It may not be at every shop or factory yet, but it’s coming.
With an influx of investment in digital factories, the playing field is changing and the ROI for digitizing production is becoming ever more apparent. However, restraints, such as company size and a disconnect between IT and OT, means the road to a successful digital transformation is one very few will be able to do alone.
For years, companies have struggled to understand how additive manufacturing (AM) can add value to their businesses. This makes sense because for a long time, additive tech didn’t meet the threshold for producing industrial-grade parts.
Cloud technology presents manufacturers with opportunities to improve the flexibility, scalability and efficiency of their operations. Realizing these benefits will require more than simply doing a one-to-one transfer of current technology to cloud-based servers.