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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For years, the manufacturing industry has debated the pros and cons of opening up manufacturing networks, but concerns over virus vulnerabilities and the stability of PCs on the network largely limited open-architecture PC controls’ progress and kept entrenched proprietary systems in place.
Workholding techniques using a magnetic field, a vacuum, or an adhesive can be effective alternatives to clamps. When these techniques are used, more part area is available for the cutting tools, thin parts can be held, and initial setup can be fast and simple. Plus, there is a potential for smoother surfaces and a shorter overall production cycle.
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.”
To compete in the fast-paced world of manufacturing, machinists look for no-compromise machine controls offering fast, precision programming of machine tools. The latest CNC systems from machine control developers include a new dual-function milling and turning control and several updated controls with embedded software routines that can significantly speed up CNC programming.
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.
Convergence-enabled cyberattacks—where criminals exploit traditionally isolated operational technology (OT) devices through their new connections to the IT network—may be motivated by the desire to hijack and demand ransom for services, steal trade secrets through industrial or national cyberespionage, or commit cyberterrorism or engage in cyberwarfare.
With the right cloud-based security tools, manufacturers can lock down and seal off factory-floor equipment from would-be hackers
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.
With the push toward a fully digital factory, manufacturing execution systems (MES) software has never been more critical to manufacturers of all stripes.