With challenging global supply chains, digital manufacturing has become an important consideration for businesses of all sizes. Industry 4.0 has led to a myriad of changes for manufacturers and digital manufacturing is one aspect of this.
What is Digital Manufacturing?
Digital manufacturing is an integrated approach to manufacturing that is centered around a computer system. As manufacturing plants have transitioned to cloud-based and online business models, this has given rise to the “smart factory” and digital manufacturing.
“Digital manufacturing is also much more than just 3D printing. It’s technology agnostic, including everything from additive (3D printing) to subtractive (machining) to formative (injection molding) manufacturing, and any other fabrication processes that are enabled by software.
But really, it’s accelerated turnaround times, cost savings, risk reduction, unlimited capacity, parts on demand, when you need them.” (engineering.com)
Advantages of Digital Manufacturing
Quick Turnaround Times. With digital manufacturing every aspect of product development and manufacturing is completely digital. Real-time updates and edits can be made to the product design without having the traditional downtime associated with design changes.
Increased Efficiency. Since your product designer is connected digitally to your manufacturer, it eliminates the possibility of lost or misinterpreted data which is common for paper-based processes. Product quantities during manufacturing can also be quickly updated based on consumer demand.
Design Updates and Simulation. The design benefits start with the use of 3D CAD designs for your product. 3D modeling software is also used to design tools and machinery as well as factory floor layouts for production flows. Through the simulation of a manufacturing process, it is possible to find methods to improve a process inexpensively and quickly before production even begins.
Even when manufacturing has started, it is possible to monitor systems to assess any deviations or problems with production so they can be addressed quickly.
Real-Time Manufacturing Visibility. With the ability to track manufacturing in real-time, changes can be made and implemented to save time and costs.
*Source referenced: (TWI Global)
The rise of automation, global supply chain challenges and an increased demand for product customization, have all led to the growth of digital manufacturing. As more manufacturers embrace the smart factory, digital manufacturing will become the standard.
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