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What is digital manufacturing?

In this article, Mr Amit Kothari discusses his initiative for digital Manufacturing to help students and entrepreneurs.

Introduction to Digital Manufacturing

Digital Manufacturing is a term used to describe the integrated use of automated systems, processes, and tools in design and production organizations to deliver products to clients as rapidly as possible, and with the minimum of operator intervention.

Digital Manufacturing and its importance

First, we ought to know what manufacturing’s most important purpose is. Manufacturing is the process of producing goods to sell to customers. Digital manufacturing is a part of smart manufacturing, which is the fusion of virtual and physical worlds through cyber-physical systems (CPS). It can also be called industry 4.0 or smart factory.

Digital Manufacturing as a process is one of the critical drivers for Industry 4.0. We can easily say that the Fourth Revolution is changing the whole concept of how manufacturing is done in the traditional sense.

How industrial innovations have happened in the past

The first introduces steam engines and the mechanization of manual labour in the 18th century.

The second, which happened at the beginning of the 20th century, focused on mass production by electrification and more technically complex product production such as cars.

The third happened in recent decades, when Electronics, telecommunications, and Computers were introduced to expedite and improve output quality. The third industrial revolution opened the doors to space expeditions, research, and biotechnology through the new technologies.

And the latest one, the intelligent network system, was introduced in Germany, in 2011. The current process involves CPS, smart machines, smart products, and mobile devices to produce personal, low cost, and high-quality goods.

Smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing is one of the most beneficial and innovative technologies of our time. The efficiency of time, the increase of quality, the less use of resources, and the cost reduction are the prominent advantages of using this process.

Some of the main characteristics of smart manufacturing

  • Better customer experience and journey
  • High adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Auto learning
  • Greater fault tolerance
  • Better risk management

Importance of CPS in Smart Manufacturing

CPS is a system that oversees the product status and the entire manufacturing process in almost real-time over long distances. Machines can have conversations with each other to deliver decision-critical data with this cutting edge system.

Therefore, it can significantly reduce interventions by human operations. It also enables the real-time distribution and processing of information.

CPS and the Internet of Things contribute substantially to gross domestic products (GDP), which can measure any given industrial section’s financial performance.

New business processes and manufacturing methods

Digital manufacturing is now spawning into new business processes and manufacturing methods based on the Internet of Things, Data, and Services (IoTDaS).

Although technology has a far more significant say than what used to be 200 years back, still the gears that set the industry in motion are engineers, scientists, managers, and employees who support industrial revolutions from innovations in their own manufacturing companies.

Digital factory investments have led to an average increase of 10 percent in production output, 11% in factory capacity utilization, and 12% in labour productivity, according to Deloitte.

Adopting smart factory initiatives can help U.S. manufacturers triple the labour productivity rate through 2030, compared to the sluggish rates of 2007-2018, Deloitte said.

Despite the clear advantages of digital factory technology, 49% of U.S. manufacturers remain stuck in pen and paper mode, according to Deloitte.

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An Introduction to Digital Manufacturing and 3D Printing

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