The manufacturing industry has undergone significant changes in recent years especially due to the advancement in the arena of information and technology (IT). Advanced manufacturing, digital manufacturing, additive manufacturing (AM), 3D and disruptive technologies are some of the different names associated with these rapid changing technologies. Sometimes it is even called a third or fourth industrial revolution. The basic logic behind all these new ways of production is the use of digitally created designs to produce solid objects through digital printers. These printers add successive layers of material i.e. plastic into solid objects.
A recent report by KPMG shows that change in the design of factories and AM are among the top ten trends which are shaping the future of industrial manufacturing in various countries.
A report from Mckinsey Global Institute predicts that more than 320 million manufacturing workers, around 12 percent of the global workforce, will be affected by this technology along with the $11 trillion global manufacturing GDP. 3D technologies will also disrupt: toys manufacturing industry which produce eight billion toys annually which is worth $85 billion sales.
However, digital technologies have potential advantages for the manufacturing industry if a comprehensive innovation policy is adopted for its implementation.
- Digital technologies such as 3D have made possible direct manufacturing by eliminating tool and labour costs, and time.
- Components produced using topological optimization has significantly reduced the weight making new products lighter, stronger and more durable.
- Now we have ways to assemble parts thanks to the production of various parts into one component.
- There is a reduction in production complexities because of the elimination of production steps.
- The mass production is customized from nano objects to large products.
- The low market entry barriers for SME’s and retail companies due to reduced costs in hardware.
- The efficient use of raw material by minimizing waste.