Intelligent factories have existed since manufacturing’s historical inception, but intelligence—defined as the acquisition and application of manufacturing knowledge—resided only with the factory’s staff.
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I’ve had quite a month, again, covering clever software and gadgets that continue to inch their way into performing tasks once reserved for humans. These tasks range from mundane material handling to highly skilled engineering design. It has made me think quite a bit about how our world of manufacturing and engineering will be affected by all this artificial cleverness.
In the 1955 short story “Autofac,” Philip K. Dick envisioned a world dominated by self-replicating robots that work incessantly, eventually depleting the planet’s resources.
Contract manufacturers, aka job shops, are the heart and soul of US manufacturing. Their survival and success are imperative.
With a shortage of young workers willing and able to do today’s factory jobs, manufacturers are taking steps to retain the older workforce already punching in.
The demand for titanium components by the aerospace industry began as a whisper about 15 years ago and steadily grew to a sustained, raucous shout over the last five and likely won’t quiet for several more.
The Copper Development Association (CDA) is eager to help shops discover and tap into the high-speed machining advantages of brass. The substantial benefits of doing so have an increasing number of shops rethinking their part materials and, when possible, converting those parts to brass.
Our focus has always been on helping manufacturers improve quality, productivity and visibility. In Sight Machine 2.0, among other things, we’ve added a set of enhancements to improve visibility.
My instincts tell me we need a sense of urgency around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in manufacturing. The urgency is driven by how quickly technology can move today, and how an unexpected breakthrough can quickly dominate.
In the near absence of academic programs to teach undergraduate engineering students additive manufacturing, a California-based startup has stepped in to help fill the void through internships.