Article | June 28, 2021
Manufacturing journalist Thomas R. Cutler visited the remarkable and magnificent country of Uganda.
Foreign investment is coming into the country and that is a good thing; it is not however, enough. To tap into this workforce corporate citizenship and contribution is essential. Just as I underestimated the stamina needed to climb the mountain to experience the gorillas, the role of transforming Uganda requires a careful, well-thought approach.
Article | January 21, 2022
3D printing technology and its role in future manufacturing are grabbing the interest of industry experts. In terms of elevating future products, future additive manufacturing has a lot to offer the business. Additive manufacturing is developing and stretching its wings on a daily basis, becoming an integral part of every industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, education, and more.
In this article, we'll shed some light on the 3D printing future trends, which will assist the business in deepening its impact across industries. Furthermore, we will explore whether the additive manufacturing business is worth investing in as well as who the major players are that have already invested in the future of 3D printing.
Future Trends in the Additive Manufacturing Industry
Enhanced Machine Connectivity
Making AM solutions (including software and hardware) easier to integrate and connect to the factory floor is one of the key AM trends we predict to advance in the coming years. It has been a long time since the AM hardware market has been filled with closed, or proprietary, systems. These systems generally function with materials and software given or approved by the machine OEM and are not easily integrated with third-party alternatives.
Closed systems are important for process dependability, but they also restrict collaboration and connectivity. Companies expanding their AM operations will need to connect their machines and software to their production environments. When it comes to additive manufacturing, using siloed solutions is a surefire way to fail. Importantly, we see hardware manufacturers increasingly focusing on solutions that can be integrated with the production floor.
For example, a 3D printing market leader like Stratasys is a good illustration of the trend. In December, the business announced an extension of its previously closed machines' connection.Consumers may now integrate and control their additive production using software programs of their choosing, not just Stratasys' systems. For AM facilities, system connectivity is no longer an option. It's exciting to see the AM industry players recognize and solve this requirement.
AM and AI Continue to Converge
AM growth is incorporating AI and machine learning. AI can help with material development, machine setup, part design, and workflow automation. So, in the future, we anticipate seeing more AI and AM technology integration.
Combined with AM systems, AI will improve process control and accuracy. For example, Inkbit is currently working on an AI-powered polymer vision system. This technology can scan 3D printing layers and anticipate material behavior during printing.
Generative design, already generally recognized as a key digital advance in AM, may tremendously benefit from AI and machine learning.
It has so far been utilized to improve load routes when strength and stiffness are dominant. It can also be utilized to optimize thermal or vibration. AI and machine learning will advance generative design, allowing new concepts to be completely suited to AM.While we may be a few years away from fully developing the capacity to automatically adapt designs to process, we anticipate significant breakthroughs this year that will bring us closer.
AM Will Drive Decentralization
In order to future-proof their supply chains, many manufacturers are following new supply chain models and technology that allow them to cut prices or switch goods more easily. Increasing flexibility and agility will necessitate distributed, localized production, assisted by additive manufacturing.To reduce the number of steps required to manufacture complex metal or polymer structures, shorten lead times, and enable digital inventory management, digital inventory management can be automated. These advantages make it ideal for the distributed manufacturing model. We believe that in the near future, more businesses will actively explore distributed manufacturing with AM.
According to a recent HP survey, 59% of organizations are now considering hybrid models, while 52% are looking into localized digital manufacturing.
3D Printing Future: Major Predictions
In Jabil's 2021 3D printing trends survey of over 300 decision-makers, 62% of participants claim their organization is actively using additive manufacturing for production of their product components, up from 27% in 2017. Many such manufacturers are on the lookout for the latest additive manufacturing trends and forecasts. So let's begin.
Increasing Flexibility and Customization
Customized goods are a popular consumer trend, impacting several sectors. Rather than buying a mass-produced item, customers are increasingly demanding a custom-made item that meets their specific needs.
Additive manufacturing's low-volume production capabilities simply enable personalization and customization.
3D printing allows for more responsive design options, particularly for additive manufacturing. Manufacturers can afford to make smaller batches, allowing designers and engineers to alter product ideas and develop them cost-effectively when inspiration strikes, the public mood is understood, or customer feedback drops in.
Materials Drive the Future of Digital
As the additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, the importance of materials cannot be overstated. Besides high equipment costs, materials and limited additive manufacturing ecosystems have hindered the 3D printing industry's growth. The market is flooded with 3D printing materials, but few are advanced enough to fulfill industry standards.Due to volume constraints in most sectors, suppliers and manufacturers aren't motivated to develop innovative materials for new uses. However, the future of 3D printing is in engineered and application-specific materials.
Various sectors have unique difficulties that demand unique solutions. New designed materials will revolutionize new uses, including highly regulated sectors. Industries will reward those who can promptly introduce 3D printing materials adapted to specific industrial and engineering needs. This will allow more 3D printing applications to be supplied and the whole digital manufacturing flywheel to start spinning.
3D Printing and a Sustainable Future
Finally, additive manufacturing promotes sustainability and conservation. Besides decreasing trash, 3D printing saves energy. The Metal Powder Industries Federation studied the difference between making truck gear using subtractive manufacturing (17 steps) and additive manufacturing (6 steps).
3D printing uses less than half the energy it takes to produce the same product. 3D printing also reduces the need for moving products and materials, reducing the amount of carbon emitted into the environment. So we can see that digital and additive solutions already contribute to a more sustainable future.
Is Investment in the Future of Additive Manufacturing Worth It?
In recent years, there has been an explosion of investment in industrial 3D printing. Hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed into the industry in recent years, assisting new businesses. Desktop Metal ($160 million), Markforged ($82 million), and 3D Hubs ($18 million) have all received significant funding in the past. According to a recent report and data analysis, the global additive manufacturing market will hit USD 26.68 billion by 2027. A rising level of government support for additive manufacturing across regions is driving market demand.
For example, America Makes, the foremost national initiative in the US since 2012 dedicated to additive manufacturing (3D printing future technology), received USD 90 million in support from the government, commercial, and non-profit sectors. Given the industry's expenditures and the expanding need for 3D printing, investing in the additive manufacturing industry or 3D printing is certainly encouraged.
Additive manufacturing is being used in practically every industry, and companies are researching how technology might be used in their specific fields. The numerous advantages and sustainability that 3D printing provides are the major benefits that manufacturers and other industry professionals notice with 3D printing.Future manufacturing will be significantly more accurate and simple to run thanks to 3D printing technologies. Considering the trends and projections listed above, you may have a better understanding of 3D printing's future and make an informed investment decision.
What is the future of 3D printing?
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has the potential to empower everything from food to coral reefs. 3D printers may soon be seen in homes, companies, disaster zones, and perhaps even outer space.
Why is 3D printing important to society?
3D printing results in waste reduction and so eliminates the need for periodic waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. So it helps society with no carbon footprint.
Why is it known as additive manufacturing?
The term "additive manufacturing" refers to the fact that the building process adds layers rather than removes raw materials.
Article | November 23, 2021
Having recently returned from Uganda, had the pleasure of being introduced by Bernard Munyanziza of Nziza Hospitality to Gilbert Atuhire. He is the Managing Director at Value Addition Microfinance Ltd. which provides micro loans to producers and manufacturers.
Atuhire is an attorney by training, however his ability to articulate the core values of Lean Six Sigma and continuous process improvement were abundantly clear. The Kampala, Uganda offices are located on Parliamentary Avenue and Dewinton Rise. This central location allows direct access to industrial projects.
Article | November 12, 2021
Robotics industry growth has accelerated rapidly across several industries. It has aided manufacturers in overcoming numerous barriers related to real-time communication, workplace safety, and overall manufacturing cost and timeliness. However, if we trace its history back to 1961 when George Charles Devol introduced the first robot, dubbed 'UNIMATE,' it has exponentially grown and utilized across sectors to make operations more effortless, precise, and faster.
“As technology takes over and enhances many of the processes we used to handle with manual labor, we are freed up to use our minds creatively, which leads to bigger and better leaps in innovation and productivity.”
– Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca.
However, the industry has seen snags or difficult times due to market fluctuations, unfavorable situations, and the need to remain competitive in the drive for expansion. To thoroughly understand the robotics industry, let us examine each component that surrounds it.
Industrial Robotics Global Market Size
According to recent Allied Market Research studies, the global industrial robotics market was worth $37,875 million in 2016 and is expected to reach $70,715 million by 2023, rising at a 9.4% compound annual growth from 2017 to 2023.
Industrial Robotics Market Analysis
The global industrial robotics market is primarily driven by a global increase in labor costs, which has compelled firms to replace human labor with robots. As a result, Asia and Europe are the world's fastest-growing areas, with top companies such as ABB, Fanuc, KUKA, Kawasaki, and Yaskawa Electric Corporation headquartered in the region.
The global market of robotics has been segmented by its type, industry, and function.
Soldering and Welding
Electrical & Electronics
Healthcare & Medicine
Assembling & Disassembling
Rubber & Plastics
Painting and Dispensing
Others if any
Machinery & Metals
Cutting and Processing
Food & Beverages
Precision & Optics
Others if any
Others if any
Industries That Are Pioneering the Use of Robotics
As we have observed, the global robotic market will continue to rise in the future years. Therefore, let us examine which industries will extend their use of robotics in their operations.
Healthcare & Medicine
Medical robots help surgeons optimize hospital logistics and free up the working staff to focus on patients. In the healthcare field, robots are revolutionizing surgery by speeding supply delivery and disinfection and freeing up time for doctors to interact with their patients.
da Vinci System – A General Surgical Robot
The da Vinci System is a surgical robot that focuses on a wide range of urological, bariatric, and gynecological surgical treatments. In addition, Stryker's MAKO System also specializes in orthopedic surgery, specifically partial and total knee replacements.
The da Vinci SP system is cleared for use in the United States exclusively for single-port urological procedures, lateral oropharyngectomy (often referred to as radical tonsillectomy), and tongue base excision.
Police robots are meant to gain access to areas inaccessible or dangerous to first responders, and they are capable of manipulating items and gathering data using several technologies. It encompasses robots capable of operating in various conditions and displaying a range of data and communication capabilities.
Agriculture & Food Industry
Farm equipment is now routinely equipped with sensors that utilize machine learning and robotics to identify weeds, compute the appropriate quantity of herbicide to spray, or learn to detect and pick strawberries, for instance.
Additionally, in the food business, robotics has been used to do repetitive tasks such as picking and placing food items and cutting and slicing food items during any given food item. For instance, the modern bakery business uses robotics to perform traditional craft skills and produce any product in large quantities while maintaining high quality and hygiene standards.
The transportation sector is highly leveraging robotics. The powerful transport capability, advanced control technology, and sensing precision are some of the benefits that make the transportation robots widely utilized in this sector. These benefits from robotics help the sector convey various commodities in factories, restaurants, and medical institutions, among other locations.
Robots are employed in manufacturing to do repeated jobs and streamline the overall assembly process. Additionally, robots and humans can also collaborate on product making. Robots can replace humans for hazardous tasks or processes that need large quantities of materials, which might be hazardous for a human employee to handle.
Factors Sustaining the Growth of the Robotics Industry
Reduces Manufacturing Costs: Robotics application in all industries reduces the overall manufacturing process running costs.
Improves Product Quality: The precision of robotics throughout the manufacturing process helps produce high-quality items that meet target client needs.
Offers Competitive Market: Increased income due to utilizing the benefits of robotics applications makes any industry more competitive.
Speed-ups Production Time: Robotics speeds up production and helps manufacturers increase output.
Offers Task or Process Flexibility: Robotics can weld, cast, mold, assemble, machine, transfer, inspect, load, and unload items, among other duties. So, it gives the manufacturer process flexibility.
Reduces Excessive Use and Waste of Production Materials: Robotics employs the exact quantity of material required for the manufactured product, reducing waste and overuse of materials.
Offers a Safe Working Place: Robotics improves employee health and safety by performing tasks that humans find risky. For example, in the chemical industry, a human employee may not do a hazardous task. In such instances, robots can replace people.
The rise of the robotics industry has accelerated dramatically, and it is now spreading its wings across industries. Research firm IDC provided a projection for the commercial robot market, forecasting that the market will exceed $53 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20%. In addition, several advantages of robotics such as safety, productivity, uniformity, and perfection are pushing its expansion and making it an essential element of industry 4.0.
Why are robots the future of the manufacturing industry?
The use of robots in manufacturing has improved process efficiency and product quality. As a result, robots are gaining favor in production and becoming the future of manufacturing.
Which industries make the most use of robotics?
Healthcare, agriculture, food, and manufacturing are the industries that are embracing robotics to get the most out of it.
How is manufacturing utilizing robotics?
Manufacturing uses robotics for repetitive tasks. This helps in the reduction of errors and human efforts. It also improves production efficiency.
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