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Manufacturing

Wine is a Mocker (Jan Steen, 1663–64)

The Industrial Internet of Things: When the Party is Over

By | AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Manufacturing, Mergers & Acquisitions | No Comments

IoT Industry Snapshot and Predictions

The industrial Internet of Things community is finally beginning to sober up from the bacchanalia of counting connected IoT devices and terabytes of cloud data storage that has dominated the IoT narrative for too long.

IoT platform vendors and consultants are shifting their focus from the lower rung of the IoT technology stack that focuses on device connectivity to the other end of the stack, to technologies that provide meaningful business value: multidisciplinary data aggregation, complex data analytics and higher capacity for optimal decision-making.

Robust articulation of the business value of industrial IoT has been absent from much of the narrative, in the vein of “if you build it, they will come.” Many IoT platform vendors provide tools to draw snazzy dashboards, plot complex data graphs and display virtual gauges. But their data analytics tools are not as robust and trending and predictive capabilities are over optimistic. And the recent rush to add statistical analysis tools (often linear regression tools masqueraded as artificial intelligence and machine learning) will face real-world challenges of data biases, inconsistency and scale. Read More

PTC Rockwell Partnership

PTC and Rockwell Automation Partnership: A New Era of PLM Competition Begins

By | Internet of Things, Manufacturing, PLM | No Comments

PLM software vendor PTC and factory automation equipment maker Rockwell Automation recently announced  a partnership agreement. As reported, Rockwell is making a $1 billion equity investment in PTC to acquire 10.6 million newly-issued PTC shares and will become its third-largest shareholder. Rockwell will also get a seat at PTC’s board of directors.

This partnership is significant and will change the balance among the top-tier PLM and factory automation vendors for years to come. Read More

Suprematist Composition (Kazimir Malevich, 1916)

Design for Manufacturing as a Knowledge Management Tool

By | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Manufacturing | No Comments

In the first part of this two-part blog article, I discussed how two global high-tech manufacturing companies use validation tools to formalize and automate the design review process for downstream manufacturing, thereby reducing costly and time-consuming rework and engineering change orders, manufacturing defects, and costs.

In this article, I discuss the benefits of using formal manufacturability validation tools as a mechanism for best-practice knowledge capture and continuous improvement.

A Growing Manufacturing Knowledge Gap

Many design engineers lack theoretical and practical manufacturing process knowledge in well-established manufacturing disciplines such as injection molding, casting, and sheet metal fabrication. This gap is more pronounced in newer manufacturing processes that involve composite materials and additive manufacturing. Read More

Suprematist Composition (Kazimir Malevich, 1916)

Design for Manufacturing: Getting it Right the First Time Pays Off

By | Manufacturing | One Comment

Competing in a Global Market – What’s Your Competitive Advantage?

Today’s global marketplace gives companies access to more customers and greater growth possibilities. But to succeed in a crowded, hypercompetitive market requires companies to outperform the competition in speed to market, product quality, competitive pricing, and strong margins.

Traditional product leadership tends to focus, not unreasonably, on competitive functionality and cost. But all too often management neglects to consider the far-reaching impact that suboptimal design could have during prototyping and manufacturing volume ramp up.  Whether because of time pressure, lack of experience, or just complacency, many product organizations often ignore downstream manufacturing during product design.

Study after study shows that inept design for manufacturability leads to unnecessary engineering changes, slower time to market, and higher manufacturing ramp up costs. Meeting project schedules, achieving a high level of quality, and controlling production costs are highly dependent on getting designs right the first time. Read More

Fennel

Industrializing Additive Manufacturing: From Trinkets and Toys to Turbines and Trucks

By | 3D Printing, Manufacturing | No Comments

For most of its short history, additive manufacturing technology innovation focused on demonstrating and proving its viability. Commercial 3D printer manufacturers have been busy making fanciful trinkets and miniature plastic replicas of industrial parts, while only a small number of industrial manufacturers have been using the technology in a limited role in prototyping and a product development stage between 3D model design and small-scale manufacturing.

From the introduction of stereolithography technology as a rapid prototyping technique in 1980, additive manufacturing evolved as a technology rather than an engineering and manufacturing discipline. While the 3D printing technology and material science have demonstrated rapid progress over the last couple of decades, the process and practice of additive manufacturing still lack industrial manufacturing orientation.

There are, of course, notable exceptions such as 3D-printed water pump impellers in a nuclear power plant in Slovenia and 3D-printed titanium bracket used in serial production Airbus A350. Read More