Industry 4.0 has been poised by industrial revolutionists and industry experts to yield more customer-focused products and transform the manufacturing and engineering space.
Different technological trends behind the emergence of industry 4.0 also facilitate the digital transformation witnessed in specific industries such as health, manufacturing, engineering, etc.
Each industry has its key facilitators, though many technologies overlap with many industries. For example, the most promising developments behind the increasing popularity of Industry 4.0 include improvements in computational workflows, new design tools that facilitate manufacturing engineers ability to visualize the future more clearly, and improvements in operational processes.
As Industry 4.0’s possibilities become clearer day by day, there are many notable ways industry experts have shared that will tremendously transform engineering. The top 3 are discussed below.
In the past, creating complex structures, especially from new material, was not the walk in the park many imagined. This was worse in the additive manufacturing space than in other areas.
Today, however, things have changed- all thanks to the power of Industry 4.0. The creation of structures that are difficult to imagine, especially from entirely new materials, is now a possibility, pushing 3D printing (AM) to more than just mere prototyping to final part production.
Very powerful, design-engineering tools for additive manufacturing have been developed, permitting greater internal complexity, part consolidation, and product simplification.
This has hugely impacted several industries where additive manufacturing structures are applicable.
For example, automotive light-weighting and aerospace have particularly benefited from the fact that it’s now possible to include internal lattices in additive manufacturing structures.
Furthermore, the personalization of implants and medical device customization has dramatically improved patient’s lives in the healthcare industry.
The technological advancements of Industry 4.0 are facilitating additive manufacturing and empowering individual engineers to revisit their imaginations of what’s possible in product design. Now, they can think outside the box and make these visions a reality.
The same is true about companies. With the possibilities brought about by additive manufacturing, their focus has shifted to build-where-you-sell scenarios.
All these have dramatically transformed the production and distribution landscape for the better.
Industry 4.0 has not only advanced additive manufacturing. It has also created a demand for more agile and sophisticated computational modeling systems.
These systems allow manufacturers to benefit from new manufacturing capabilities that produce more complex and widely applicable designs and tools, for example, high-strength lattice structures not only employ organic shapes but are also lightweight.
Previously where traditional CAD engineering was used, it was either impossible or difficult to capture and then alter and analyze these highly complex interior passages, surfaces, and shapes.
Now, the story is different. New generational design platforms can create and validate, in near automation, tens of thousands of options and arrive at a single revolutionary design boosting of utmost performance and cost— while at the same time, set for output to AM (additive manufacturing) work cells.
Of course, all the excellent progress made with computational modeling is made possible because of digital twin technology.
With digital twin technology, it’s possible to create a complete digital representation of geometry, performance, and constraints as well as the manufacturing parameters of a physical asset, not only of an individual part but also of full assemblies. Consequently, design and production optimization, which are in agreement with each other, are now possible in ways that have not been seen before.
With these computational models in place, engineers collaborating from different locations now have access and transparency throughout the lifecycle of a product, from the inital design process to the manufacturing process. This is particularly important when the success rate must be 100%, like in a case where the finished product represents millions of dollars of investment.
The traditional modeling set up of designing new products doesn’t incorporate the full intricacy of the Multiphysics involved, making it too easy to break the models.
With the new Digital Twins, there’s enough robustness to enable product designers to maximize not only the manufacturer’s capabilities but also their abilities to innovate— which is equally critical.
The ability to connect analog tools and data structures opens up a new way of doing business.
This linkage is made possible with the availability of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which permits sensors to be integrated into various manufacturing processes and in some vital aspects of the supply chain. This makes it possible to better inform the product design from its earliest stages.
Because manufacturers can now transition from analog to digital processes, new ways of doing business are realized every now and then.
Because of the power of the smart factory of the future and that of integrated sensors, companies in manufacturing their engineering design teams now have better control and visibility into the design process and making products and parts.
Furthermore, companies and their engineering teams will now have better, data-informed decision-making power. Consequently, they will be able to undertake more and integrate the analog operational aspects (which previously took place on paper and spreadsheets) into a more efficient digital model.
Although there are still many detrimental manual processes on the manufacturing side that must take place to maintain operations, new tools and data structures are developing and will offer perfect connectedness and transparency in every part of the manufacturing process.