Industry and technology are bedfellows that rarely diverge and have provided frequent advances to product development teams throughout history. Whenever technology leaps ahead the manufacturing industry grabs hold of the coattails to follow suit. This is how advanced manufacturing capabilities have always been closely related to technological advancements. And today, with the rapid advancements in technology, manufacturing is, more than ever, taking advantage of every nuance.
A primary driver of this trend has been and continues to be the basis for most if not all businesses. It is for manufacturers to gain a competitive edge over their competition. The recent revolutions in the manufacturing industry have led to new players emerging. They have also caused a shift in traditional practices that put traditional powerhouses at risk.
The Differentiators between Traditional and Advanced Manufacturing Capabilities
Industry experts haven’t quite reached a consensus on how to precisely define advanced manufacturing capabilities. However, it seems to come down to a single differentiator. Advanced manufacturing capabilities rely on utilizing the latest technologies across the entire production lifecycle to find a more agile approach compared to conventional techniques.
Phrases like Generative Design, Simulation, Rapid Prototyping, and Build-to-Order seem to encompass the industry’s understanding of advanced manufacturing. The previous models depended on hierarchical systems whereas newer strategies embrace a vertical flow of information and processes. This approach has enabled smaller players to compete with the larger, more well-established giants that have dominated the industry in recent history.
What Does Advanced Manufacturing Strategy Look Like?
For US companies looking to outsource work to advanced manufacturers knowing what such a strategy looks like is important. Virtual tours of the facility, real-time data capturing and analytics of the value chain, and sustainable operational practices are common features of advanced manufacturing companies. Manufacturers will also use simulations and additive manufacturing solutions to find optimal designs for products using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools.
Beyond Industry 4.0
For much of the late 20th century, Industry 4.0, or the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution, was a theoretical and largely academic thought-experiment, but that has now become a daily reality driving the entire manufacturing industry. The advances in material sciences, micro-manufacturing like 3D printing, and system and process integrations have enabled factories to shift operations towards a more agile and iterative production cycle.
With these changes came greater capabilities that improved production techniques. And most surprisingly, they opened the door to smaller firms to compete in both the design and build sectors. Now referred to as “cyber-physical capabilities”, the industry continues to find new techniques to keep product costs down. It also improves quality and complies with consumer demands.
The opportunities that come from additive manufacturing depends mainly on the designer’s imagination. Additive manufacturing techniques have become the standard in how companies approach both new product development and aftermarket production. To realize these innovative manufacturing solutions, however, factories must combine this trend with the rapid rate of technological evolution. They will also have to eventually disrupt conventional models and methods.
Contacting ITI Manufacturing
The world of manufacturing is constantly and rapidly changing. To find the right manufacturing partner you will need to know the pulse of the latest trends.