Smart Manufacturing: Don't Miss Out on the Industrial Revolution

| March 16, 2020
SMART MANUFACTURING: DON'T MISS OUT ON THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Smart manufacturing is an extensive term that applies to machinery or tools connected via the internet to help monitor production. The purpose of adopting smart manufacturing is to help manufacturers identify opportunities and weaknesses to improve their manufacturing processes. However, smart manufacturing isn’t one particular thing, it’s a combination of different technologies, and solutions that together, form a process for achieving lean manufacturing, so isn’t something that you can directly implement into your production.

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BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 112,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS).

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Top Five Industries That Are Leveraging Additive Manufacturing

Article | October 20, 2021

Additive manufacturing has advanced significantly in recent years and is currently used in nearly every area to improve both products and processes in the manufacturing business. As a result, manufacturers have been more imaginative and innovative in offering relevant products to their target customer group due to this technological advancement. Mr. Matt Mong, a prominent business executive, also mentioned in one of his Media7 interviews, 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 The use of additive technology provides several advantages, including creating unique shapes and low production costs. In addition, the increasing application of additive manufacturing technologies is accelerating the growth of the additive manufacturing market. According to recent research conducted by Metal AM, the value of additively produced components is expected to increase by 15% annually from $12 billion in 2020 to $51 billion in 2030. Thus, additive marketing is the way forward for all industries. This article will cover the top five industries that utilize additive manufacturing and are advancing their businesses every day by overcoming the prevailing challenges such as production errors, downtime, and skilled labor shortage with the benefits of additive manufacturing. Five Industries Utilizing Additive Manufacturing Though additive manufacturing or 3D printing has penetrated almost all the industries, we have picked up a few of the prevailing industries that have started using additive manufacturing and excelling in it. Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace Aerospace has always been the first sector to adopt new technology. Precision is critical in this sector, as a failure of any component is not an option in aerospace. In aircraft production, dimension, weight, and temperature tolerance are critical, and additive technology provides every solution around this. As a result, additive manufacturing has evolved into a critical technology that adds value throughout the supply chain for prominent aircraft firms like Airbus, GE, Boeing, and TTM. Additive Manufacturing in Healthcare Healthcare or medical is one of the industries that is maximizing the benefits of additive manufacturing. Technology enables the medical sector to be more innovative, accurate, and capable of offering the most excellent medical solutions available today. It enables medical practitioners to rehearse before procedures and medical researchers to study functioning human tissues for basic biological research. In addition, it is utilized to fabricate tissues and organoids, surgical instruments, patient-specific surgical models, and bespoke prostheses. Thus, additive technology has altered the face of medicine, elevating it to a more sophisticated and solution-oriented state. Additive Manufacturing in Architecture As with other industries, additive manufacturing reshapes the architectural and construction sectors by eliminating conventional industrial barriers such as production time and cost, material waste, and design constraints. By utilizing 3D printing, designers can now quickly construct and demonstrate how structural parts will function and appear when combined. It also assists designers in seeing how the plan will seem subsequent execution. Additive Manufacturing in Manufacturing Nowadays, additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a significant part of the manufacturing process. For example, rather than fabricating a product from solid blocks, additive manufacturing may build a three-dimensional model utilizing fine powder, various metals, polymers, and composite materials as raw materials for constructing a 3D model with a three-dimensional printer. Additive Manufacturing in Education Additive manufacturing is reshaping the educational industry by introducing a new teaching trend and transforming the classroom experience for students. It is being used in various disciplines, including engineering, architecture, medicine, graphic design, geography, history, and even chemistry. They may produce prototypes, three-dimensional models, and historical objects, among other things. Thus, technology enables learners to get more practical information about their respective courses directly on the floor. How has General Electric (GE) been pioneering the use of Additive Manufacturing for 20 years? GE's primary competency is additive manufacturing (3D printing), and the company has made significant investments in the technology. It utilizes additive technology to manufacture a range of components for aviation and other sectors. This article will look at one of their manufacturing case studies and how additive technology enabled them to get the desired result from the end product. CASE STUDY: OPTISYS Optisys modified a vast, multi-part antenna assembly into a palm-sized, lighter, one-piece additive metal antenna. The antenna's aluminum material was chosen because of its surface conductivity, low weight, corrosion resistance, and stress and vibration resistance. Optisys was able to break even on machine acquisition within one year after acquiring its first Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) equipment by utilizing additive technologies. (Source: General Electric) Benefits and Outcomes Non-recurring expenditures were reduced by 75%. Weight loss of 95% The size was reduced by 80%. Part-to-part reduction of 100-to-1 Cycle duration shortened from 11 to 2 months 5 product lines were created for AM, a new market growth Final Words Additive manufacturing benefits a wide variety of businesses. Industries must recognize the advantages of additive manufacturing and begin using the technology in their manufacturing processes to cut production time and costs while increasing product accuracy. This game-changing expansion of the additive manufacturing market across several industries is upgrading both products and production processes. FAQs How do you define additive manufacturing? Additive manufacturing (AM), more generally referred to as 3D printing, is a ground-breaking manufacturing technique that enables the creation of lighter, more robust components and systems. As the name implies, additive manufacturing is adding material to an item to create it. Is additive manufacturing the same as 3D printing? Both terms are interchangeable. Additive manufacturing and 3D printing manufacture components by connecting or adding material from a CAD file. Which companies specialized in additive manufacturing? American Additive Manufacturing, Forecast 3D, Sciaky, Inc., 3 Axis Development, Inc., Jonco Industries, Inc., Polyhistor International, Inc., and Caelynx, LLC are renowned companies for additive manufacturing in the United States of America. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How do you define additive manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Additive manufacturing (AM), more generally referred to as 3D printing, is a ground-breaking manufacturing technique that enables the creation of lighter, more robust components and systems. 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Manufacturing in 2022 - Five Emerging Trends in the Industry

Article | October 8, 2021

The trends in the manufacturing industry for 2022 are expanding and altering the industry's conventional face. The future of manufacturing is going to merge with digitalization and technological applications. As a result, all operation methods, products, and manufacturing outcomes will be modernized with new technology applications. To brighten the future of manufacturing, manufacturing companies must examine new trends in the industry before developing their manufacturing plans for 2022. Technological advancements are the next game-changer in the manufacturing business. Adeaca's Vice President of Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist had recently quoted in an interview with Media7 as, “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 The new trends in manufacturing are leveling up every part and element of the industry. In this article, we'll look at a new trend for each industry aspect that's assisting manufacturers in speeding up the production process, increasing ROI, and propelling their manufacturing business to new heights. Additionally, it will assist you in addressing current industry challenges such as forecasting product demand, addressing skilled manpower shortages, and increasing manufacturing plant efficiency. Five Manufacturing Industry Trends to Watch in 2022 Emerging trends in manufacturing provide a chance to review your production strategy for products and processes. Check out below the upcoming trends in manufacturing that are getting attention in the industry. Customer Engagement and Purchase Experience Creating an exceptional digital customer experience is a new trend in manufacturing. According to industry experts, mapping the customer journey and their interactions with your products is the first step towards establishing a positive connection with your potential consumers. A few of the most popular strategies to improve the consumer purchasing experience and engagement are as follows: Build a knowledge base for your products on your business website Create a comprehensive FAQs page that addresses all of the buyer's possible queries Create a chatbot to provide immediate help to the buyer with further inquiries Create a brand story and a comprehensive description of your manufacturing business If possible, provide product statistics and success stories, and content about consumer satisfaction with your product Create a product functionality video or explanatory picture material to familiarize the potential customer with your product These are some of the trends that engage your prospective buyers and increase their purchasing experience through a range of product-related information and educate them about you and your products. Smart Technology-enabled Products Smart is the new norm in every industry. The old operations and goods that were once a part of everyone's life have now been replaced by technology. Manufacturing is no exception to this alteration. Due to the increasing demand for smart products among customers, every company is now looking forward to inventing and manufacturing smart products. Explore and understand how you may incorporate cutting-edge technology (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Edge Computing, and Digital Twins, and more) into your products to help them stay updated with manufacturing trends. Virtual and Augmented Reality in Manufacturing (Industry 4.0) Transforming traditional manufacturing systems and processes into smart, tech-savvy ones is a new trend in manufacturing. The future of manufacturing is expected to witness this digitization in 2022 and beyond. Therefore, you must convert your conventional manufacturing plants into smart ones, i.e., as per the concept of Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution. Discover how prominent companies are implementing Industry 4.0 The following are some popular transformations that many popular manufacturing factories are adopting to become part of the industry revolution. To achieve a zero-carbon footprint, manufacturers may use analytics systems to determine the amount of trash they create and develop ways to eliminate it. (Implemented by Whirlpool) Utilize an analytics platform to decipher usage data for energy, water, and other utilities. (Implemented by Whirlpool) Utilize technology such as Siemens' Mindsphere, which enables online analysis of several aspects of a production plant and helps manufacturers create digital models using real-time data. (Implemented by Siemens) Utilize a combination of IoT and cloud-based technologies to avoid downtime and gather analytics data. (Implemented by Hirotec – a Japan based manufacturing company) Machine learning technology can be used to foretell and avoid system failures in your manufacturing plant. (Implemented by Hirotec – a Japan based manufacturing company) Utilize robotics and to accelerate manufacturing across many verticals. (Implemented by Ford) Utilize 3D printing to improve the precision of product design and to avert product defects during the early production stage. (Implemented by Aerospace: Airbus) These are some examples that other well-known manufacturing companies in the market, such as Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Whirlpool, and Siemens are currently using. So, consult an expert and determine how to leverage emerging technology to turn your production plant into a smart manufacturing unit. Internet of Things (IoT) to Boost Revenue Manufacturing companies have begun to leverage the Internet of Things to establish connectivity between machines and operational procedures throughout manufacturing. This linkage between machine and operation significantly decreases the human supervision required for each step and completely automates them. Manufacturers intend to incorporate these IoT trends in manufacturing into both their products and operational processes. IoT further enables manufacturers to operate and monitor their work remotely. As a result, they can concentrate on developing new strategies and preparing for future ventures. Shifting Focus from B2B to B2C Model Several manufacturers skip intermediaries and connect directly with their consumers to sell efficiently to their target consumer group. This purposeful approach has multiple benefits, which are outlined below. Manufacturers may skip the lengthy retail sales cycle and achieve a shorter time to market The absence of a third party between the manufacturer and the customer reduces the risk of brand misinterpretation or dilution Direct interaction with customers enables manufacturers to obtain more accurate consumer data, product feedback, and requirements for new product development Manufacturers can control the price of their products due to the absence of a third party between them and the target consumer group These benefits of the B2C model attract manufacturers and encourage them to develop added production techniques with these benefits in mind. Final Words Technology, innovation, and digitization are the future of manufacturing. The IoT trends in manufacturing are essential for industrial production and will allow the manufacturing industry to obtain a new competitive edge. Hence, manufacturers must keep in mind this industry revolution (industry 4.0 and 5.0) while developing strategies for their manufacturing operations in 2022. FAQs What are the benefits of adopting the Internet of Things in manufacturing? IoT devices can monitor industrial operations, manufacturing cycles, and other warehouse data management processes automatically. This benefit decreases the amount of time spent monitoring individual operations and increases production speed. What role will smart manufacturing play in the future? According to a grand view research analysis, the smart manufacturing market was worth USD 236.12 billion in 2020 and is expected to extend at a 12.4 percent compound annual growth rate to reach USD 589.98 billion by 2028. What are the critical components of the smart factory of the future? Robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, and cloud-based administration will be critical components of the future smart factory.

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Corporate Citizenship and Industrial Investment in Uganda: Key to Accessing Significant Affordable Workforce

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.

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How Collaborative Robots Are Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

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.

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Spotlight

BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 112,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS).

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