In an era of perpetual change with some cycles coming to an end, while others are about to start, there are lots of questions being asked about the new economic model and the future of manufacturing. While it is clear that the service component in manufacturing has increased significantly over the years, what is still difficult to predict is the pace of change that will take place and more importantly how the players will be impacted. Even the traditional manufacturing powerhouses are gearing up, with the UK Government initiative – Reshore UK, launched in 2014 and the establishment of High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centres to bridge the gap between research and industry. Today nearly one quarter of advanced manufacturers use 3D printing with the UK boasting the first company to print medical-grade silicone for prosthetic noses and eyes …
Given that much work is still manual, building planes is nearly 30% automated while assembling electronics like cell phones is only 10% automated - MIT Computer science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the USA is implementing its vision of people and robots working together on the factory floor. In the meantime, Germany’s industry is on the verge of the 4th industrial revolution, leading the way with 11% share of the global market for industrial automation.
Responding to such challenges, we need to rapidly embrace innovative production processes which is the interaction between advanced systems and technologies, digital technologies, and a highly trained and skilled workforce. The convergence of the real world with the digital world, where product development, production and servicing communicate through software and networks is Manufacturing 4.0.