The Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun, and there is wide agreement this revolution will involve cyber-physical systems with human-machine interaction and lots of data. But many still wonder what the revolution is about and what to expect as consumers and manufacturers.
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The auto industry’s biggest current focus is self-driving cars. Established automakers as well as technology companies such as Apple Inc.
The ongoing digital transformation of manufacturing comes baked-in with many uncertainties, and the automotive business is no exception.
Manufacturing competitiveness depends on working faster, smarter, and better, with the convergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and smart sensors, software and data analytics.
A key success factor for Industry 4.0 and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) initiatives is the emergence of more and better sensors in machining centers, and even in the cutting tools themselves. These sensors provide the data and connectivity that are the foundation for the “factory of the future.”
With the push toward a fully digital factory, manufacturing execution systems (MES) software has never been more critical to manufacturers of all stripes.
Today, the ideal factory can achieve levels of self-controlling (and perhaps self-learning) production processes, in which production reacts autonomously to changes or faults and takes appropriate measures.
In the aerospace world, as in all sectors of manufacturing, the race is on for faster, more automated and connected machining operations. Aerospace builders have steadily pushed for more automotive-like automation over the past several years in order to improve productivity and more effectively handle large order backlogs in commercial aviation.
When wrestling with vexing issues such as product complexity, lightweighting, advanced materials and new manufacturing methods, today’s manufacturing engineers increasingly use high-fidelity simulations to visualize solutions to these challenges.
An eternal truth is that manufacturing will always push the limits on cost, performance, and especially quality. “Tolerances never get looser, they always get tighter,” remarked Gene Hancz, product specialist, CMM of Mitutoyo America Corp. (Aurora, IL).