As additive manufacturing (AM) moves from prototypes to mass production, manufacturers are setting their sights on the holy grails—the products and processes that will be game-changers. Many game-changers are already in play.
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The auto industry wants to expand the use of 3D printers. Automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG are working directly with additive manufacturers concerning deployment of the technology.
FANUC has made real one of the promises of Industry 4.0, that of predictive maintenance for factory equipment, with its Zero Down Time IoT solution. ZDT can be applied to any of FANUC’s robotic arms and their peripherals.
Before harmonizing new technology onto the manufacturing floor, critical steps include determining the business problems to be solved and securing buy-in from all stakeholders, industry leaders said recently during an AeroDef conference panel talk on manufacturing production harmonization.
Listen up, major manufacturers and CAD vendors: You’ve got the whole world in your hands—the world in this case being the vision of the digitally connected enterprise and cyber-physical ambitions for Industry 4.0.
Basic trends in modern manufacturing are driving growth in 3D optical metrology. “One is the highly complex and high-tech material that manufacturers are using today. For example, in the aerospace turbine blade market, they simply cannot touch the part like they used to—the surface finish of the material is too readily affected by any kind of contact metrology."
Technology is changing ever more rapidly. Sometimes this means topics learned in engineering or technical school become obsolete. Whole new fields emerge within a few years, so that even those with freshly minted educations suddenly find themselves faced with new challenges.
New systems, software and processes are replacing so-called islands of automation with seamless, automated manufacturing lines that boost overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) from 30 to 80% or more.
Smart manufacturing is about making the best decisions in the shortest time possible based on the most accurate real-time data—whether those decisions are made by people, machines or cyber-physical systems.
Remember the boy with endless learning capacities in the 2001 film “AI Artificial Intelligence”? He’s quickly coming to life. Today, AI is no longer fictional; it’s reality.