Andrew Kusiak for nature: Manufacturing is getting smart. Companies are increasingly using sensors and wireless technologies to capture data at all stages of a product's life.
Thomas Black for Bloomberg: General Motors Co. has connected about a quarter of its 30,000 factory robots to the internet, and the largest U.S. automaker already is reaping the benefits of less down time.
The white paper explores the impact of automation on the ever-evolving job market and the growing shortage of skilled employees with experience and training in advanced technologies. A3 examines the types of jobs that are going unfilled and reviews workforce development initiatives, including education, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training that will fill labor shortages and support ongoing economic growth and productivity.
Noah Smith for Bloomberg View: Discussions about manufacturing tend to get very contentious. Many economists and commentators believe that there's nothing inherently special about making things and that efforts to restore U.S. manufacturing to its former glory reek of industrial policy, protectionism, mercantilism and antiquated thinking.
Techworld from IDG: At the Cebit trade show in Germany, Japanese businesses want to go beyond smart factories, deploying industrial technologies to build a smart society
Innovation in Textiles: ┬ At the upcoming Texprocess trade fair, which will take place in Frankfurt, in May, a Digital Textile Micro Factory will present a live demonstration of an integrated production chain for apparel. In collaboration with the German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf and a number of well-known companies in the textile sector, Texprocess will demonstrate the entire networked production of items of clothing - from the design stage to digital printing, automatic cutting out and fabrication. Visitors at Texprocess will follow a signposted path through the various individual stages of manufacture in the micro factory and will be able to get information from experts at each stage. In addition, there will also be guided tours on offer. ┬ Cont'd...
Gilles Roucolle and Marc Boilard for Forbes: ┬ The race is on to use 3D printing to produce small-series parts, on demand and on location, for industries from aerospace to automotive. At stake is the shape of a $400 billion market for spare parts manufacturing and logistics. And those changes are not 20, or even 10, years out - they are happening now. Using models built through computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printing can produce virtually any solid object, even those with complex architectures, and in a range of materials, including plastic, ceramic, and metal. Currently, about half of 3D printing - also known as additive manufacturing - is used for prototyping. This saves manufacturers time and money, because they can develop new components or products on-demand, with less waste and without expensive tools and molds. ┬ Cont'd...
Tim Fryer for Eureka: Head in sand time is over – Industry 4.0 is happening and is here to stay. In this article, the first in a series, Tim Fryer spoke to some of the leading automation companies about what Industry 4.0 means to design engineers. The elevator pitch for Industry 4.0 would be something like ‘it is the digitisation of manufacturing and the supply chain’. The three previous industrial revolutions started with steam and mechanisation, progressed onto automated assembly lines at the start of the 20th century, and then the introduction of computers to the work place in the 1970s was the third. Cont'd...
Michael Molitch-Hou for Engineering.com: Although it’s possible that patents have existed since the time of the Ancient Greeks, the Venetian Patent Statute is more widely recognized as the first official patent system. Established in 1474, the statute declared that 10-year patents could be granted to "any new and ingenious device, not previously made.” Along with all of society’s rules and mores, patent law and intellectual property (IP) have changed over time. We are now living in the post-Internet era, in which ideas and files are exchanged all around the world on a regular basis. It is now possible to download Phil Collins’ entire discography, whether it’s legal or not. It’s also possible to download 3D printable guns, legal or not. Full article:
Harry Brumpton for Forbes: It’s an industrial breakthrough destined to transform manufacturing, from the production of entire space shuttle rockets right down to dental implants. It’s only a matter of time before the technology will make it to homes too, experts say, giving you access to on-demand, customizable basketball shoes, toys, housewares and more. 3D printing builds solid objects of almost any design by zapping out tiny melded layers of plastic, metal or whatever else, much like a drip in freezing weather incrementally forms an icicle. This simplifies the complex assembly of heavy objects and intricate designs, in essence reinventing the traditional economics of production. One darling stock of the 3D printing world is 3D Systems, which has posted a whopping return since the start of the new year of 27.54%. But its three-year record is even more eye popping: Minus 77%. Cont'd.. .
Marketwired: Campofrío Food Group, the leading international producer of branded processed meats, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, has cut the ribbon on a brand-new plant that boasts the latest in digital technology. With a gross surface area expanding 99,000 square meters and an estimated production of 101,400 tons a year, the 'New Bureba' plant is located in Burgos, in Northern Spain. It replaces the previous facilities, destroyed by a fire in November 2014, but is far from a standard rebuild, incorporating the industrial sector's very latest innovations. From the beginning of the design process, Campofrío seized the opportunity to create a 'smart' factory that connects machines, devices, sensors and people in real-time. The company selected Cisco Connected Factory solution to create a 'Factory 4.0' that would enable to manage and optimize its business processes and make well-informed decisions. Cont'd...
The prevailing narrative says automation was the main culprit behind U.S. manufacturing job losses in the early 2000s, and that automation is now powering an unprecedented manufacturing technology revolution that will continue to displace jobs. But a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that both of these claims are false. ITIF, a leading tech-policy think tank, finds that trade pressure and faltering U.S. competitiveness were responsible for more than two-thirds of the 5.7 million manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010. And rather than entering a "fourth industrial revolution," U.S. manufacturing productivity growth is actually near an all-time low. In light of these facts, ITIF concludes that U.S. policymakers should aim to close the country's trade deficit in manufactured goods by fighting foreign mercantilism and pursuing a national competitiveness agenda that hinges in part on boosting manufacturing productivity rates. The report estimates that successfully closing the manufacturing goods trade deficit this way would create 1.3 million jobs. Full Press Release:
Oerlikon announced today that it is expanding its global additive manufacturing (AM) business with a state-of-the-art R&D and production facility for additively manufactured advanced components in the Charlotte metro area in North Carolina, USA. Oerlikon will invest around CHF55million in this facility in 2017 and 2018, and expects to create over 100 new jobs at this site over the longer term.┬ As part of Oerlikon's strategy to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions and advanced materials, the Group has identified additional growth areas such as additive manufacturing, which leverages its strong materials heritage, service reputation, access to markets, applications across industries and core competence in intelligently engineering and processing advanced materials and surface technologies. ┬ Full Press Release: ┬ ┬
"Today there is a vast market opportunity in product prototyping that we feel is not being addressed by current 3D printing systems. The launch of the Stratasys F123 Series targets these product design workgroups, industrial designers, engineers, students and educators who demand a professional quality rapid prototyping solution that's simple to use, produces reliable, engineering-quality results, integrates perfectly within an office or lab setting, and is affordable to own and operate," said Zehavit Reisin, Vice President, Head of Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys. "As the company that invented FDM, Stratasys brings a rich pedigree to the F123 Series, providing our customers an optimal balance between usability and high performance." Full Press Release.
Louis Columbus┬ for CloudTech: ┬ Having attained initial results from Industry 4.0 initiatives, many manufacturers are moving forward with the advanced analytics and Big Data-related projects that are based on real-time integration between CRM, ERP, 3rd party and legacy systems. A recent┬ Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC)┬ study of Industry 4.0 adoption,┬ Industry 4.0: Building The Digital Enterprise┬ (PDF, no opt-in, 36 pp.) found that 72% of manufacturing enterprises predict their use of data analytics will substantially improve customer relationships and customer intelligence along the product life cycle. Real-time integration enables manufacturers to more effectively serve their customers, communicate with suppliers, and manage distribution channels. Of the many innovative start-ups taking on the complex challenges of integrating cloud and on-premise systems to streamline revenue-generating business processes,┬ enosiX┬ shows potential to bridge legacy ERP and cloud-based CRM systems quickly and deliver results. There are many more potential benefits to adopting Industry 4.0 for those enterprises who choose to create and continually strengthen real-time integration links across the global operations. ┬ Cont'd...
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