Article | November 20, 2021
Advanced manufacturing enables the concept of industry 4.0 and represents a significant milestone in the manufacturing industry. Additive manufacturing is a critical component of the industry 4.0 concept, propelling the industry to new heights of innovation.
In various fields that are not immediately related to industry 4.0 or manufacturing, additive manufacturing has alternatively been referred to as 3D printing. The numerous advantages of additive manufacturing, such as reduced cost and time, are boosting its popularity and use in manufacturing and other industries.
“Digital technology is so empowering on so many fronts, but for it to be empowering, it must be for everyone.”
– Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive (Manufacturing) at Microsoft.
The global market of additive manufacturing is anticipated to increase at a 14.42 percent compound annual growth rate from USD 9.52 billion in 2020 to USD 27.91 billion in 2025. According to this market research, the future of 3D printing or additive manufacturing is quite bright in the coming years, and we will see widespread application across industries.
First, let us understand the idea of additive manufacturing and its benefits to various industries.
Concept of Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing is building a real thing from a three-dimensional computer model, often by successively layering a material. This technique utilizes computer-aided design (CAD) software or 3D object scanners to command devices to deposit material in exact geometric shapes layer by layer. As the name implies, additive manufacturing involves the addition of material to produce an object.
Additive Manufacturing Benefits
Produces Fewer Scraps and Trash
When we compare additive manufacturing to traditional manufacturing techniques such as milling or turning, additive manufacturing adds only the amount of material required to build a product. As a result, it generates less waste and conserves scarce resources.
Reduces the Time and Cost of Prototyping
Making a product prototype is now faster, easier, and cheaper. Other production processes, like milling, have high setup and material costs. Prototyping is less expensive and takes less time, so you can quickly produce, test, and modify. It also shows practically instant verification of progress done.
It Encourages the Digitalization of Businesses
Continuous and effective communication between devices, machines, and robots is required for additive manufacturing. However, this is only achievable with effective digitization of production processes. As a result, businesses invest more in digital and IoT, a prerequisite for Industry 4.0.
It Simplifies the Assembling Process by Condensing it into a Single Component
Additive manufacturing in Industry 4.0 also simplifies the production process, especially product assembly. A traditional component requires numerous manufacturing procedures. This increases material and labor expenses as well as production time. However, additive manufacturing allows you to print the group in one piece.
The Top Three Industries That Make the Most Use of Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing is presently used in a variety of industries. However, specific sectors make the best use of it. Thus, we will examine the industries embracing additive manufacturing technology and emerging with new life easing solutions.
In the healthcare industry, dentistry is the critical application of additive manufacturing. Technology helps it create bridges, crowns, braces, and dentures, always in high demand.
Additive manufacturing has also been used to create tissues and organs, surgical tools, patient-specific surgical models, and personalized prosthetics. For example, many medical equipment companies employ 3D printing to build patient-specific organ replicas that surgeons can practice before completing complex surgeries.
Additive manufacturing is utilized to fabricate metal brackets that serve as structural components within airplanes. Prototypes are increasingly being printed in three dimensions, allowing designers to fine-tune the shape and fit of finished parts. In addition, interior airplane components such as cockpit dashboards and door handles are manufactured using 3D printing services.
3D printing can manufacture molds and thermoforming tools, grips, jigs, and fixtures for the automotive industry. Automakers utilize additive printing to customize parts for specific vehicles or drivers (e.g., seats for racing cars).
An appealing colored dashboard, efficient fuel systems, and complicated braking mechanisms are all possible with 3D printing in the automotive industry. Therefore, it is best suited for pre-production, manufacture, and modification of automotive parts.
How Does NASA use additive manufacturing in its space projects?
The space environment has always been unpredictable, and scientists must be adequately prepared before embarking on any space mission. They must consider the durability and weight of all the objects they propose to transport into space. To land any object on a planet that does not have a flat surface or similar weather conditions to earth, scientists must design each object with these considerations in mind.
“You always want it to be as light as possible, but you also want it to be strong enough.”
-Chris Chapman, NASA Test Engineer
It is not conceivable to make items capable of dealing with all the changes on other planets and achieving these project objectives using conventional materials and production processes. However, scientists do require a technique that will enable them to manufacture lighter and stronger objects for their space missions.
3D printing has played a significant part in meeting this demand and has provided space projects to manufacture objects that would withstand any unexpected events during space missions. For example, NASA employed 3D-printed metal components in their Mars project.
NASA's specialized engineers are utilizing additive manufacturing to create rocket engines and possible Moon and Mars outposts. NASA used the 11 3D printed metal components on its Mars mission as well. It employed 3D printed components for the first time in the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012. It was a successful project, and NASA has since begun employing 3D printed parts in its space missions to make machines lighter while remaining robust and functional.
Additive manufacturing technology is making a real difference in the manufacturing process, and it is becoming the trending technology in the manufacturing industry. The benefits of additive manufacturing make the manufacturing process more advanced, easy, and customer-oriented. Additive manufacturing is the major transformation in the manufacturing industry and will take it to new heights of precision.
Why is additive manufacturing critical?
Additive manufacturing reduces the time and cost of prototyping and reduces the scraps amount during the manufacturing process of any object. In addition, it simplifies multiple processes from various industries.
Are additive manufacturing and 3D printing the same?
Yes, additive manufacturing and 3D printing are the same processes with different names as per the choice of the different industries. For example, in some industries such as space missions, It is also referred to as Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM).
Which is the most applied sector for additive manufacturing?
Healthcare is the industry that utilizes additive manufacturing technology the most. It also helps medical practitioners practice surgery on any critical body part with its 3D printed model from human tissues.
"name": "Why is additive manufacturing critical?",
"text": "Additive manufacturing reduces the time and cost of prototyping and reduces the scraps amount during the manufacturing process of any object. In addition, it simplifies multiple processes from various industries."
"name": "Are additive manufacturing and 3D printing the same?",
"text": "Yes, additive manufacturing and 3D printing are the same processes with different names as per the choice of the different industries. For example, in some industries such as space missions, It is also referred to as Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)."
"name": "Which is the most applied sector for additive manufacturing?",
"text": "Healthcare is the industry that utilizes additive manufacturing technology the most. It also helps medical practitioners practice surgery on any critical body part with its 3D printed model from human tissues."
Article | March 2, 2022
Rise in security and privacy concerns and the growing trend of IoT and automation drive the growth of smart surveillance and home security systems. The development of smart locks has enhanced locking systems with improved security. With the emergence of new connected technologies in the market, the demand for advancements in smart locks also increases. Due to this, market players are investing in continual R&D for developing top-notch smart locks, thus meeting the consumers' rising demand and securing their footprint in the industry.
Demand for the smart lock is high in residential, commercial, and government sectors
Smart locks are convenient to use and provide improved security to the user. From the residential to the commercial sector, the acceptance of smart locks is increasing gradually. Increase in standard of living in urban areas and disposable incomes drives the demand for smart locks in emerging nations. In addition, the easy availability of the internet and improved use of smartphones aid the acceptance of smart locks in residential sectors.
The integration of smart locks with larger security systems provides improved protection. Due to this, the demand for smart locks is high commercial sector to provide reliable authentication and security procedures. The smart lock technology is widely used in hospitals, office buildings, banks, and other sectors for a variety of purposes such as network access, workstation access, and physical access.
Smart locks are ideal for bolstering the physical security of the building and space. Technology plays a vital role in the government sector. Increase in security and safety concerns of personal and information assets has enhanced the adoption and implementation of smart lock technology in the government sector. Smart locks are used by multiple government agencies and forensics departments, specifically at sensitive information stations, for staff authentication and other security purposes.
The market has a range of smart locks with hundreds of features. Technology in smart locks has come a long way. Presently, the market has smart locks with various operational modes such as WiFi, bluetooth, fingerprint, voice assistants and commands, and biometrics. However, there is still a long way to go, and market players are working on new technologies in smart locks. The latest and unique technology in smart locks provides lucrative opportunities for market growth. In addition, increased government investments in smart city projects in developing nations assist the market growth. According to Allied Market Research, the global smart lock market is anticipated to grow at a significant CAGR of 16.4% from 2017 to 2023.
New launches and the latest technology in smart locks
Market players are adopting strategic collaboration to innovate advanced lock systems with emerging technologies and market expansion. Kaadas, a leading provider of digital smart locks joined hands with Lamborghini to develop smart facial-recognition door locks. Kaadas recently introduced its high-tech and exclusive collection of smart facial-recognition door locks, which uses 3D structured light technology. The advanced 3D recognition technology offers infinitesimal accuracy for face recognition for biometric authentication and door unlocking.
The novel Kaadas- Lamborghini facial recognition lock provides improved security for home and office buildings. The 3D recognition technology extracts exact facial features and bone structure for developing the 3D model and doesn’t support door unlocking with videos or photographs. Along with a 3D facial recognition system, the smart digital lock also provides advanced features including PIN code, mechanical override key, fingerprint biometrics, and encrypted CPU card for door unlocking. The facial recognition lock also supports automatic locking of the doors once closed. This high-tech lock can be a game-changer in the smart locks market.
Smartphones have become an integral part of today’s lifestyle. With the growing technological advancements in IoT and remote control devices, operating smart devices and systems with smartphones has become easy. Market players are developing advanced and efficient smart locks to meet the growing customer demands. Schlage’s latest Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt is the first smart lock that works with Apple home keys.
Encode Plus Smart lock works with Apple wallet and can be accessed with Apple Watch, iPhone, and home kit. It also offers other features to the customers such as remote controlling with applications, emergency alerts, activity details, and other advanced features which a user expects in a smart lock. The smart lock is also well-suited to Google Assistants and Alexa, and it will be available in the market later this spring.
The outbreak of covid-19 impacted the global smart lock market as consumer spending on nonessential products decreased during the pandemic. However, the world is getting back to normalcy. Also, the inclination towards digitalization and automation has increased among people. The market is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years with the latest advancements in smart lock technologies. The market will recoup soon.
Article | May 5, 2022
Digital twins appear to be beneficial in cutting expenses for many industries. A growing number of companies in the manufacturing industry, as well as healthcare, oil & gas, and other industries, are using digital twin features to better understand and respond to changing business conditions.
Digital twins can be used to save costs at numerous levels or segments of your business. Their use raises awareness of situations and helps businesses make better decisions. This technology has been applied to:
Change to standard care and conditional support in the railways
Use predictive care to foresee major impacts on the oil and gas industry
Monitor patients in real-time to improve comfort and avoid life-threatening scenarios
So, how do digital twin solutions assist manufacturers in cutting production costs?
Digital twins enable manufacturers to detect early mechanical defects, allowing for faster or cheaper repairs. Companies can save money by adapting to changing circumstances. For example, a corporation may automatically plan repairs to minimize performance impact.
Many companies use digital twins to cut expenses in various operating scenarios. In this article, we will look at situations to help recognize the benefits of digital twins.
Why Use a Digital twin?
The adoption of digital twins provides more effective product research and design. It also generates large amount of data about expected performance or results in the process. This data can provide insights that enable businesses to make necessary product refinements before initiating production.
The use of digital twins can be beneficial even after a new product has been put into production. This can help mirror and monitor production processes to achieve and maintain optimal efficiency throughout the whole manufacturing process.
As far as product lifecycle management is concerned, digital twins can assist manufacturers in determining what to do with products that have reached the end of their expected life and require final processing, whether through recycling or other means. They can figure out which product materials can be gathered with the help of digital twins.
Cost Optimization in Manufacturing using Digital twin
Transportation Cost Optimization
Digital twins are commonly employed in high-value rolling commodities like trains to improve fuel efficiency and competitiveness (i.e., predictable repairs). However, in the case of passenger automobiles, cost savings have been recorded (for example, improving security maintenance at passenger doors and train wheels).
When switching from conventional to state-based prevention in stock care, the rail transport operator claimed an average 10% savings.
Oil and Gas Cost Optimization
Companies frequently utilize digital twins to simulate and analyze functions like oil metals, pipelines, and processing plants. Among the business objectives supported by forecasting adjustments, machine learning, and other analyses are an increase in automated excavation or processing processes, a reduction in off-peak hours (FTE), and downtime, and the extension of the life of high-value assets.
The oil and gas businesses claimed that historical data forecasts for building repairs had been discovered near a substantial portion of their offshore oil production. This gave them time to lead security operations. They saved a week of unplanned unemployment and production expenditures. In less than a year, their digital investment has returned twice as much as before.
Supply Chain Cost Optimization
Businesses are increasing their investment in IoT and supply chain monitoring. Utilizing modern supply chain characteristics such as digital twins can assist businesses in achieving enhanced business results.
Monitoring the location and condition of high-value assets can assist in identifying anomalies that suggest an increased risk of theft. Additionally, this technology can be utilized to determine the location of assets for the purpose of recovery. While digital twins in many of these circumstances are straightforward – simply a location – in others, the supervised data may include natural characteristics such as the temperature inside the frozen container, generator fuel levels, or ways of detecting asset depletion or interruption.
Is a digital twin necessary for your business? Yes, most certainly. By creating a comprehensive virtual picture of a company's processes, digital twins remove the element of uncertainty from decision-making. According to Gartner, 13% of organizations utilizing IoT already have digital twins in place, while 62% are either implementing or planning to do so. Hence, do not hesitate to deploy a digital twin in your organization, as it is worthwhile to invest in a digital twin that will help you lower overall production costs in the long run.
Why is a digital twin necessary?
Digital twins are becoming vital in business. By making a digital copy of the physical assets of a product or service in an industry, digital twins help with data analysis and give people a way to check how things work before they happen. This way, they can develop a solution to any problem before it happens.
What data should be in the digital twin model?
The concept of the digital twin is based on three unique components: the physical product, the digital/virtual product, and the connections between the two.
How much does a digital twin cost?
According to some experts’ estimations, the cost of implementing a digital twin is $50,000 or less. Complex processes will necessitate a substantial investment and a lengthy implementation period to model.
Article | December 10, 2021
A new form of robot is entering manufacturing plants all around the globe. Instead of being locked away in their own work cell, collaborative robots work side by side with their human counterparts. Together, they form the manufacturing crew of the future.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are more flexible, easy to use, and safer than industrial robots. Instead of ending up abandoned in a corner, they are proving to be serious expansions of production capacity leading to better ways of creating superior quality products.
1.1 A New Breed of Bot
Cobots are a new type of automation product with their own ISO standards for safety and usability. For a robot to qualify as a cobot, it has to be used for tasks of a collaborative nature while sharing all or part of its reach space with human operators. So it is not the product alone that classifies it as a cobot.
Industrial robots must be expertly programmed for one specific job along the production line. This requires hard line coding and endless tweaking and testing, which together with other factors make for a sizable upfront investment. Not so with collaborative robots.
Cobots may look similar to traditional robots in some ways, but they are much easier to install and program. This foregoes the need to cooperate with a robotic integration service. Their lightweight and friendly form factor lets manufacturers conveniently relocate them on the shopfloor from one project to another.
This renders the robotics technology perfect for a data-driven, Industry 4.0 work environment. Cobots can side with traditional machinery and additive manufacturing equipment, aided by artificial intelligence and cloud connectivity while embedded in a networked environment rich with smart sensors and mixed reality interfaces.
1.2 A Unique Blend of Benefits
Because it is fairly straightforward to reprogram a cobot to various tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume work to meet the rising demand for ultra-customized products.
They can also do multiple tasks in unison, such as alternatingly loading a machine and finishing parts from the previous cycle. Here are some other advantages in addition to flexibility:
• Low investment. Cobots typically cost a fraction of the price of an industrial robot, but they offer much lower payload and reach. ROI is typically one to two years.
• Safety. With rounded surfaces, force-limited joints, and advanced vision systems, cobots are exceptionally safe. This reduces the risk of injury due to impact, crushing, and pinching. Driverless transport systems are wheeled mobile robots that immediately halt when their lasers detect the presence of a nearby human being.
• Accuracy. Cobots score well on accuracy with 0.1mm precision or well below that. While they do typically sacrifice speed, dual-mode cobots can be converted to fully-fledged tools of mass production that run at full speed in their own safeguarded space.
• Easy to program. Many brands offer user-friendly programming interfaces from beginner to expert level. This reduces the need for continuous availability of expensive and scarce expertise while giving current employees an incentive to upskill. And because they can be deployed within hours, cobots can be leased for temporary projects.
• Research. Small processing plants, agile start-ups, and schools can invest in cobots to experiment with ways to automate processes before committing to full automation.
1.3 Cobot Activity Repertoire
Cobots are perfect candidates for taking over strenuous, dirty, difficult, or dull jobs previously handled by human workers. This relieves their human co-workers from risk of repetitive strain injury, muscle fatigue, and back problems. They can also increase job satisfaction and ultimately a better retirement.
The cobot’s program of responsibilities includes:
• Production tasks such as lathing, wire EDM, and sheet stamping.
• Welding, brazing, and soldering.
• Precision mounting of components and fasteners, and applying adhesive in various stages of general assembly.
• Part post-finishing such as hole drilling, deburring, edge trimming, deflashing, sanding, and polishing.
• Loading and unloading traditional equipment such as CNC and injection molding machines, and operating it using a control panel to drastically reduce cycle times.
• Post-inspection such as damage detection, electronic circuit board testing, and checking for circularity or planarity tolerances.
• Box-packing, wrapping, and palletizing.
• Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) assist with internal transport and inventory management.
1.4 No-Code Programming
While an industrial robot requires the attention of a high-paid robotics engineer, anyone with basic programming savviness can install and maintain a collaborative unit.
Brands are releasing more and more kits for quick installation and specific use cases. Instead of being all numbers and line-coding, current user interaction is exceptionally people-focused.
At the lowest skill level, lead-through programming lets operators physically guide the cobot’s end-of-arm-tool (EOAT) through the desired motion path, after which it will flawlessly replicate the instructed behaviour.
It is also possible to enter desired waypoints as coordinates. At the highest level, it is of course still possible to have full scripting control.
An intermediate step is visual programming interfaces. These let users create blocks of functionality that they can string together into more advanced action sequences, while entering the appropriate parameters for each function such as gripping strength, screwing tightness, or pressing force.
These UIs come in the form of in-browser or mobile apps.
Based on a 3D-CAD model of the machine and its industrial environment, a digital twin of the cobot can simulate and optimize its operations, for example to prevent collisions.
It also lets operators remotely monitor and adjust the machine while it’s running. All the while, back-end artificial intelligence can do its analyses to find further efficiency improvements.
3D models of the to-be-manufactured product can be imported for edge extraction of complex surfaces. These will then be converted into the cobot’s desired movement trajectories instead of tedious manual programming.
This makes them feasible to implement for highly dexterous tasks like welding curved hydroformed metal parts or sanding and polishing the most intricate of 3D printed geometries.
Interfacing directly with the robot is becoming increasingly human-centered as well. Future cobots will respond to voice interaction as well as touch input, eradicating the screens-and-buttons paradigm of current devices.
Some brands are giving the cobot a face with emotional expressions, hoping to lower the barrier to adoption. The upcoming generation of cobots can even respond to body language, as well as show its intentions by projecting light to where they are about to reach or move next.
1.5 A Human World
Ultimately, the objective of any company is to create value for people. It is not an option to completely remove humans from the shop floor in an attempt to stay at the forefront of innovation.
Attempting to leap to full automation and the utopian “lights-out factory” does not work anyway, as automotive giants such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Tesla can testify. A significant portion of human employees will indeed need to give up their roles. On the other hand, improved productivity levels open up space to retain personnel and uplift them to more creative, managerial, analytical, social, or overall more enjoyable jobs.
For certain tasks, humans still need to be kept inside the manufacturing loop. For example:
• Complex assembly routines and handling of flexible components.
• Large vehicle subassemblies contain many variable components and require more hand-eye coordination than one cobot can handle. Humans are needed to make sure everything lands in the right position while the cobot provides assistive muscle power.
• Fashion, footwear, jewellery, art pieces, and other products where creation borders on artistry rather than mechanical assembly require the aesthetic eye of humans. People are also needed to spot aesthetic deficiencies in custom one-offs in order to correspond with customers before finishing the production batch.
• While intelligent automation software can spot bottlenecks in efficiency, humans are required for creative problem solving and context-awareness to make decisions. A spirit of flexibility and innovation is just as important as the accuracy of perfect repetitions.
1.6 Mission: Install a Cobot
Cobots have numerous advantages over industrial solutions or people-only workspaces. They enable faster, more precise, and more sophisticated operations while reducing downtime and maintaining employee satisfaction.
Low-voltage operation and reduced material waste fits with sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility programs.
Many companies are reporting surges in production capacity and staff generally experience the presence of cobots as favorable. For example, industry leviathans like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reaching the conclusion that in many parts of the production process implementing a cobot has been the right decision.
Connecting all parts of the production line with full automation solutions is a pipedream. It works only when all steps are perfectly attuned, and in reality this never happens and one misstep can be catastrophic.
Whether to hire a human, a robot, or a co-robot is a complex and ever-more pressing decision. Statistical process control is paramount for large organizations to make unbiased data-driven decisions.
Determine the key performance indicators, then find the most critical bottlenecks and major opportunities for leaps in production efficiency, product quality, or staff unburdening.
Talk to employees for their insights and probe their level of skill and enthusiasm needed for working with their new artificial assistants. Digital transformation should be an exciting shift in the organization and its people, so apply new technological advancements only where it makes sense.
Despite common beliefs about robotization, the cobot is an entirely separate product category that can be a surprisingly plug-and-play solution for simple tasks, with programming apps becoming increasingly intuitive.
A cobot’s flexibility makes it perfect to run early experiments to help companies find its best spot on the factory floor. Its unbelievable precision, consistency, and level of control generally can make a strong first impression on customers.
Not only can cobots increase production capacity while reducing idle time and cycle time to accelerate manufacturing across many vertical markets, but they also enrich the work environment resulting in happier and more involved employees.
For many companies, a cobot can be the next logical step in their digital transformation.