Evolution is always Transiting while Mother Nature Forms its miracles, including the likes of us! The Manufacturing Processes also has been Trans-Forming over the period and thus various Industrial Revolutions have taken place over time and again
TransForm is thus a keyword in any manufacturing… and it often depicts how any product is formed in various stages.
While manufacturing, per say, pre-dates any Industrial process, from the perspective of Engineering, Industrial Revolution has been recorded since it begun during the late18th Century. Through its various phases, Industrial Revolution ( IR ) has witnessed the Transformation of Machines from being able to perform simple tasks to highly complex tasks as per the demands of the era.
The progression between these eras is typically sub-divided numerically between IR 1.0 to IR 4.0 highlighting the various production structures and drivers which have induced the transformations. Currently, we are transiting from IR 3.X to IR 4.0 and entering into the phase of ‘Cyber-Physical’ manufacturing systems and as we delve into these studies we will explore the opportunities it is going to offer.
But why do these changes need to happen?
It seems that the IR3.X, the one that is still prevailing in the World of manufacturing today, in spite of being amongst the best known Industrial practices, have reached a ceiling in many of their offerings. Progression demands that these practices transcend to the next level ASAP.
During these periods, manufacturing has been synonymous with factories, machine tools, production lines and economies of scale.
They have been broadly ‘reductive’ in nature where-in a raw material that has started as a ‘block’, has been reduced to a ‘shape & size’ to either form a ﬁnal product or an intermediate ( in case of components) to be assembled as the ﬁnal product. Hence this method produces a lot of ‘waste materials’ which are de-valued as scrap. The cost of this waste has to be incorporated into the cost of the ﬁnal product, so there lies the challenge of this method of production as consumers keep demanding for ‘Value for Money’.
There are other challenges too.
• Under the current manufacturing methods, anything that is to be manufactured has to be designed keeping in mind the limitations of the process. So, the design is treated as a back-ward integration of the manufacturing process and this restricts the creativity and innovations of any product.
• Till now, the Industries have mass produced what they had considered to be the ‘trend’ and forced consumers to buy them. The continuous behavioural changes of consumers have started to wean away from buying ‘Off-the-shelf’ to ‘Customised’ products and this is demanding more and more innovations. So the Industry now has to TransForm from Mass produced to Bespoke produced products.
• During the last few phases of the IR 3.X, the markets have grown from ‘Local’ to ‘Global’ but mankind would not stop there and are now looking beyond at Extra-Terrestrial opportunities and that brings-in Distributed Manufacturing options.
• The Neo Consumers are Impatient and Cost Conscious and to keep up to those demands, the Industry has to constantly seek ‘cost-cutting’ measures and hence a few in-between processes are being considered as redundant and needs to be phased out to reduce time and cost.
So, to overcome these, the world of manufacturing is changing…and the technology that is among the most preferred to usher-in that change is going to be Additive manufacturing … a.k.a. 3D Printing.
WOW! But then would it mean to start all over again?
As a matter of fact No ! Primarily, the world has always ‘grown from the tiniest to the largest’… so it’s not new. Our inspirations to ‘turn over a new leaf’ are often derived from Nature and this phenomenon is now being adopted by some advanced manufacturing sectors while this technology itself is still metamorphosing in various stages of perfection.
OK! So how to get into the ﬂow?
Those who are already in the existing manufacturing industries need to ‘Un-Learn & Re-Learn’ a bit to realign with this new technology. Those who are still in their Education Systems and are yet to get into any Industry, are welcome to ‘also-Learn’ a few basics now and can later carry-on with bridging courses, particular to their choice of industry.
But is this not yet in any curriculum ! Where to Learn More?
Right Here @iandwe……