The world of manufacturing has experienced great transformations over the past years and this, in part thanks to the emergence of new technologies. In 2017, the manufacturing sector has not been spared by this development and had to juggle with many challenges due to economic growth and an increase in demand in several sectors. This is why, in 2018, we hope that these new trends in engineering will notably support the objectives and challenges of manufacturing firms.
1. The evolution and integration of automation and robotics
Robotics technology and automation will evolve at a rapid pace in 2018. With the development of autonomous driving vehicles in 2016 l and the appearance of the most precise and compact six axes industrial robot on the market by Mecademic in 2017, we can only expect even more surprising robotic innovations. In the manufacturing sector robots will further expand and allow companies to take advantage of an increase in production among others.
Innovations will continue in 2018, proof of this is that a robot will soon be able to screw in a light bulb. That is what support engineers at the University of California in San Diego have affirmed. Their latest innovation, a clamp that can pick up and manipulate objects without the need to see, is unique. in its kind. It can turn and detect objects in addition to building the model of the objects that it manipulates.
For FABTECH 2017, Universal Robots and ARC Specialties have launched the first MIG welding robot in the United States. . The new SnapWeld collaborative welding robot offers hardware integration and transparent software thanks to the Universal Robots + platform. SnapWeld is a system of interactive robot assisted welding that can be easily deployed and flexible in existing manual welding booths, thus eliminating the expense of a new robotic cells.
2. The increasing popularity of 3D printing
3D printing has been in existence for a few years already, but this innovation is just beginning to take off. However, its popularity is increasing at great speed and some countries are one step ahead regarding the use of this technology. For example, China is now able to print 3D homes and entire buildings. In addition, this new technology used in the aerospace and transportation sectors, will create many jobs for engineers who work at developing new applications and integrating technologies in production environments.
The aerospace sector was among the first to adopt the additive manufacturing technology. In an industry where cost is not a priority, most of the work goes into parts of an aircraft that are smaller but often very technical; therefore, they must meet certain strict requirements. Other areas where 3D printing allows us to develop concepts so far inaccessible in the world of manufacturing include medical, transport, energy and consumer products.
3. The numerical simulation of the flow of material in a factory
Since manufacturing companies naturally still seek to produce more quickly and more accurately, the numerical simulation of the flow of material in a factory could be coveted in 2018. Indeed, this method consists of making simulations of processes and 3D visualizations in a virtual plant before being put into production in the real factory. 3D visualizations are now very realistic and are used to test the manufacturing process before cutting metal, installing a factory assembly line or even buying expensive manufacturing equipment. The use of virtual models serves among other things to achieve a result without error, and this, without having to make numerous physical tests in the real factory. We compare real 3D simulation of plant operations closer to the virtual world of video games, such as the Sims games, while framing is in an industrial setting. This allows to visualize and understand this concept!
4. The Internet of things or Fog Computing
In 2018, the Internet of things will change, especially with the arrival of Fog Computing. The industrial future of the Internet of things will actually be a combination of Cloud and Fog Computing.
What is Fog Computing? Fog Computing also called Fog Networking or Fogging, refers to a physical and distributed application infrastructure, carved to store and process data from connected objects. Rather than centralize the information produced by the sensors in the Cloud, the idea is to appeal to the facilities located at the edge of the network (routers, gateways, switches, mobile devices, etc.) to perform the treatments through this environment.
Fog Computing is not intended to replace the Cloud. It is an additional application and material layer. It allows the meeting of specific application needs related to treatment in real time. Some uses, such as in autonomous vehicles or smart meters with immediate decision-making, require instant treatments that can be supported by this architecture
5. The rise of artificial intelligence and speech assistants
Voice assistants and artificial intelligence will more and more be integrated in devices such as, robots, cars, appliances and many others in 2018 in order to make them more efficient and able to adapt to its user (knowing the user’s tastes, manner of driving, tone of voice, etc.).
Be on the lookout for trends with Merkur
All these innovations are making you dizzy? If you don’t want to miss any of the innovations and key trends that will guide the world of manufacturing in the coming months, our consulting engineers at Merkur will lead you to the best technologies adapted to your reality.
Our specialists will seek to demystify the major innovations and support you in the integration of the various innovative processes.