If Industry 3.0 is identified by the computerization of factory floor processes to make them “smart,” then Industry 4.0 can be understood as the expansion of the idea to include all of the non-factory floor inputs required to produce a quality product and a successful enterprise.
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As with so much else in manufacturing, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a byproduct of the Third Industrial Revolution. Where electronics began transforming manual lathes and mills into CNC machine tools some 60 years ago, so too have computers and information technology given us CAD/CAM, ERP, PLM, and so much more.
Controls help make modern manufacturing go. Controls help shop floor employees monitor Industry 4.0 technology. Controls also boost productivity on the shop floor. Technology companies are highlighting improvements designed to maintain the forward momentum of advanced technology.
Part 1 of this three-part series on the Connected Machine Shop ran in the July issue of Manufacturing Engineering.
COVID-19 revealed some deep-rooted shortcomings in our approach to manufacturing and to supply chain design in the U.S. Well beyond the immediate and urgent need for PPE, we saw dramatic swings in both supply and demand for almost everything bought and sold here.
If you were to rebuild your manufacturing business today, would you build it in the same way, or would you shape it differently to address new challenges and future innovations?
Before the coronavirus pandemic upended normal life and essentially shut down commercial airliners, the aviation industry had a projected need for 40,000 new aircraft—planes, helicopters, air taxis, and unmanned aerial vehicles—in the next 20 years.
The warning about the vulnerability of the aerospace and defense industry’s supply chain came buried in the pages of a report issued by the consulting firm EY two years before the COVID-19 outbreak became a full-blown global crisis.
We no longer need to accept that it takes a decade to create and make a safe and effective vaccine—thanks in part to smart manufacturing.
It is not surprising that the aerospace and defense industry exists at a higher plane of manufacturing. The components and end products being assembled must endure intense forces and pressures, are expected to perform without failure, and even the slightest mistake comes with extreme safety risks.