What are the opportunities for MIM in the future manufacturing industrytime：2020-05-06Views：153 Author：Best Seiko
The fourth industrial revolution has arrived, and unprecedented changes and opportunities will follow. As the core driving force of this revolution, digital technology is becoming faster and more economical, bringing more tangible benefits to more people. As emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, generative design, and big data are accelerating the development of various industries, 3D printing technology is also subverting traditional manufacturing step by step. The far-reaching impact of digital transformation is inestimable, and this is understandable. But the era of Industry 4.0 requires not only new technology, but also new skills and new ways of thinking and working. For many companies, this change is not trivial because it means injecting new investments, implementing organizational changes, and upgrading employee skills. In order to strengthen customer relationships and absorb new business, this change is necessary. Enterprises must make positive changes and embrace Industry 4.0. Unlocking new possibilities requires a change in thinking. Take 3D printing as an example: 3D printing technology, that is, additive manufacturing technology, can build a complete functional part from scratch by continuously stacking and bonding material layers. No need to build injection molds. This change has a great impact on the manufacturing process and product form. 3D printing has brought an increase in overall efficiency-not only shortened the design cycle, lowered the total production cost, but also shortened the time from production to delivery. The impact is not limited to this: 3D printing technology has also changed the way designers and manufacturers work, and the technology they use and the training they need are completely different. First of all, 3D printing technology can be said to open a whole new door for designers and engineers, allowing them full freedom to give play to their creative inspiration and get rid of the limitations and constraints of the past. Because it is no longer necessary to use injection-molded molds, even if they are designed for mass production, designers no longer need to consider drafting angles or seams. In short, they need to abandon the shackles from traditional manufacturing. What is needed in the era of Industry 4.0 is a new thinking model, design ideas and skills, because additive manufacturing can allow designers to create new components that are more complex and even unprecedented, and sticking to traditional design thinking will gradually fall behind. Second, unlike the linear workflow of traditional manufacturing, 3D printing requires designers and engineers to work more closely together at each node of the process. In the traditional manufacturing process, the interaction between the designer and the engineer is limited. After the designer completes the product design, the engineer is responsible for prototyping and testing, and then the injection molding tool is built and mass produced. However, this also means that functional considerations only appear in the second half of the development cycle, including material performance, structural integrity, and design durability. The 3D printing ecosystem encourages the construction of a more integrated and interactive process. The designer must consider how a component is manufactured from the beginning of the design cycle. The new CAD technology (that is, computer-aided design technology) can already support the consideration of functional factors during the construction of design vision, so engineers must also participate in the early stages of design. New digital technology brings new opportunities. 3D printing also brings opportunities for designers and manufacturers to learn and apply new technologies. Generative design and machine learning are two key new technologies that have contributed to this opportunity. With the popularity of digital manufacturing, CAD technology is also constantly developing and updating. Today's CAD software can already be used in conjunction with virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) technology, allowing designers to superimpose any computer-generated image into a real scene. Moreover, the operation of CAD software has become more simple and easy to understand, and some are even built for non-professional programmers. These trends are pushing the popularity of the manufacturing industry, giving everyone with design creativity the opportunity to become a manufacturer. Automated generative design software enables designers to quickly view component designs and generate multiple design arrangements based on data parameters such as selected materials, production methods, and cost constraints. Autodesk, a leader in engineering design, proposes that AI systems can automatically generate multiple high-performance product choices from a single design by applying generative design principles. This is of great benefit to designers, because they can make an analogy and choose a design that meets its important standards from the hundreds of thousands of more design works generated by the AI system. In addition, the original 3D design files can also be directly connected to a 3D printer, calculate the precise material usage and quickly prototype to avoid waste. How companies can help employees cope with changes more easily Facing many new tools and new technologies to choose from, how to create a suitable working environment and employee support system is a key step for enterprises to move towards digital manufacturing transformation. The first is to encourage engineers to contact new technologies and make active attempts. These engineers are already accustomed to traditional injection molding workflows and may feel a little challenge when learning new skills. But in the process of trying new tools and learning new skills, they will experience the new design power. Exploring new features and discovering your own limitations will help inspire new ways of thinking. As engineers try to become familiar with 3D printing technology, continuous training is essential. At HP, 30% of Indigo printer engineers have received additive manufacturing design (DFAM) training. From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Nanyang Technological University, some world-renowned universities have also launched online courses and short-term classroom training to introduce the basic knowledge, applications and commercial significance of 3D printing to engineers in their mid-career careers. It also provides a lot of help for customers in digital transformation. In order to better understand the needs of customers and their current manufacturing methods, we start from the production line to look at the different components on the production line and understand the application and standards of each part. In this way, we can identify components that can be produced more optimally and faster using 3D printing technology, thereby greatly reducing costs or reducing the impact on existing production cycles. In this way, we work with companies to help them determine which parts of the manufacturing process can be replaced with 3D printing technology. Prepare the next generation for digital manufacturing As engineering and design become more and more inseparable, hybrid higher education courses will become increasingly popular among the next generation of engineers. Universities such as the Imperial College of Technology and Pennsylvania State University have begun to offer comprehensive master degrees in design engineering and master degrees in additive manufacturing and design engineering, respectively. The HP-NTU Enterprise Lab, launched in October last year, will also focus on developing educational courses on additive manufacturing design, covering data management, security, user experience, and business models. These courses combine design thinking, engineering knowledge, and practice to provide graduates with the skills needed to advance the development of digital manufacturing. In just a few years, they will become the main force to accelerate and standardize digital manufacturing. The industry is changing rapidly, and if manufacturers can adopt the right tools and technologies and motivate employees to explore creative solutions to meet business challenges, then we will have the opportunity to unlock countless new business opportunities.