What does Industry 4.0 mean for CNC manufacturing processes?
It’s been almost three centuries since the onset of the first industrial revolution, so on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, what can we expect its impact to be on CNC manufacturing and the associated machining process.
The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is the revolution of data and cloud computing to improve the efficiency of the production and manufacturing industries. The use of artificial intelligence and the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) are driving forces in this modern day revolution, allowing for increased process automation and smart functionality between manufacturing systems.
How will new industrial 4.0 processes benefit the CNC industry?
Industrial 4.0 technology uses enhanced integration of systems, data collection and interconnectivity to streamline manufacturing processes, so for CNC production methods, that means less reliance on physical processes and integration with other manufacturing systems through smart functionality.
The major benefits of these changes include an increase in production speeds, less production downtime, and ultimately increased output and customer satisfaction. Another benefit will be reducing the need for human participation in the more dangerous or overly repetitive machine functionalities, improving staff safety standards and work satisfaction.
Latest technologies merging together to lead the way into Industry 4.0
Since Bitcoin came into existence in 2009, blockchain technology has been evolving rapidly. Leaving the hype and cryptocurrency market’s volatility aside, the blockchain has been arguably the biggest innovation in the past decade. Fundamentally speaking, it has given us the option to run the whole economy on decentralized protocols .So therefore, how is it all connected to Industry 4.0?
There have been various startups trying to tap into the Internet-of-Things Industry. The biggest and most well-known Foundation is IOTA, founded by Dominik Schiener, David Sønstebø and Serguei Popov. Since its foundation in 2015, IOTA has been working on a technology similar to Blockchain, called Tangle. Tangle is a decentralized, open, feeless data and value transfer protocol.
In simple terms, it lets devices talk to each other in a decentralized form and completely free manner.
According to their website, IOTA’s Tangle main objective is to empower Industry 4.0.
Their biggest and most well-known partnerships that they have managed to establish are with Land Rover, Jaguar and Dell Technologies. With more than 100 organizations around the globe and current market valuation of more than $3.4 billion dollars IOTA has gained a market leader and innovator’s position.
How will the use of manpower change in the CNC Machine shops?
With the continued integration of CNC machining processes, workers in the industry will, understandably, have elements of concern about how futureproof their position in CNC manufacturing is. Whilst AI functionality will reduce physical input for machine users, there is a substantial need for monitoring and human operation, which means that the revolution will bring about change, rather than joblessness.
Companies will need to provide substantial training for their staff in line with new tools and computer-based systems. From a workers perspective, the sooner training is received in the Industry 4.0 implementation into the CNC machining industry, the more knowledgeable and employable they become. From the business perspective, the sooner their staff are fully competent in new systems and standards, the more quickly they will benefit from the increased productivity and potentially enhanced customer satisfaction that comes with the digital upgrades.
The importance of maintaining production standards
With the introduction of multiple smart technologies into the CNC manufacturing process, there is the likelihood that IT technicians will be required in larger numbers, to address functionality issues onsite. There is also the increased requirement for new regulation and quality control systems, which has led to the development of bespoke manufacturing standards and protocols in this area.
The overseeing of these important technical standards offers increased opportunity for diversification of worker skills in the CNC machine tool manufacturing space. These regulations facilitate the continued efficiency of the modern smart factory, and are therefore critical to the success of this new age of digitalised industrial potential.
As we move forward, the companies who act today and take a step towards innovation will be the market leaders tomorrow.
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