The bane of modern engineering is complexity. One promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning is helping engineers to use complex tools and harness vast data sets effectively.
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Most anyone who’s worked in a machine shop for any length of time has at some point attended a trade show or machine tool distributor’s open house. There they see canned demonstrations of CNC machines busily carving up chunks of brass, mild steel, or aluminum into business card holders and tic-tac-toe games.
Manufacturers are facing shrinking product lifecycles with frequently changing customer demands. As a result, they need agile production and flexible factory layouts that can easily be modified whenever needed.
As with any digital transformation process, the devil is in the details, and there are many potential pitfalls that can derail projects.
There is no shortage of competition in a global market. As a manufacturer trying to get ahead of the pack, automation can help with problems like a limited skilled labor force, quality control issues and suboptimal throughput. But the high initial cost and extended implementation time can be deterrents.
Cyber criminals are increasingly setting their sights on today’s digitized manufacturing industry as an entry point into government and commercial supply chains.
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.
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.