With the September issue, Smart Manufacturing introduces Collective Intelligence, a new initiative under which we gather experts in one room to go deep on one important topic. We focused this first roundtable on the intractable problem of the workforce skills gap.
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Throughout 2018, SME has published a series of Smart Manufacturing Industry Reports, with the third being released at IMTS this month. The reports, available at sme.org/reports, detail the necessity and advantages of smart manufacturing, the challenges to implementing digital solutions, and, finally, keys to implementing the technologies and tools.
As the momentum to go green continues to build across the globe, the number of environmental regulations for reducing hazardous substances keeps growing. At the same time, more and more customers are now setting their own environmental requirements, adding more complexity to the mix.
When considering a new robotic automation system, one of the biggest concerns can be the weight of the initial costs. While such a large capital expense may be hard to swallow at first, it’s industry-proven that manufacturers see an average ROI of 24 months from robots.
Alex Berry and his team at Sutrue Ltd. (Colchester, England) exploited the benefits of 3D printing prototypes when developing two new automated suturing devices. They also coined a phrase to describe their prototyping technique.
Automotive manufacturers and their Tier One suppliers spend endless engineering hours developing the PAB (passenger airbag) system, from the airbag and its propellant to the construction of the materials used in the composite instrument panel.
Some in the medical industry are using silicone rubber molds made with a 3D-printed master pattern for low-to-mid production runs of cast polyurethane device housings.
Composite materials have clear benefits for manufactured parts in aerospace, medical, automotive applications and many other industries. Ensuring the highest part accuracy is critical. Force measurement and material testing are essential processes for product designers and manufacturers to gain insightful data to create high-quality composite components.
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.
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.