Future Fabrication Technologies and Trends
In this article I will briefly review some of the technologies and trends in fabrication. Some of them are 3D printing, Augmented reality, Modularization, and Robotics. We’ll also cover some of the applications of these technologies in different industries. If you have any questions about these technologies, feel free to contact us.
In the last few years, 3D printing has come of age and is ripe for public adoption. While it started out clunky and expensive, new innovations led to decreasing costs and increased accessibility. Similarly, a recent study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory found that a new material created using additive manufacturing can prevent dental fillings from cracking. The future of 3D printing is truly exciting, and there are endless applications and potential innovations in this field.
Future fabrication with 3D printing is expected to be more complex and more advanced than today, with a wide range of 3D printing materials anticipated to emerge in the coming years. With the advent of AI-enabled computational alloy discovery, end-users will be able to specify the exact properties they seek in a component. In addition, bio-based polymers and the recapture of waste materials will be used for future fabrication, with a focus on sustainability.
Augmented reality will enable manufacturers to access the data they need to improve working procedures. It can also help identify defects or unsafe working conditions. Manufacturers can also use AR to display information to workers, such as step times or specific actions that could cause a defect. These solutions will streamline the manufacturing process and reduce costs while increasing production and reducing mistakes.
Manufacturers and their employees will be able to visualize the process of creating products, such as blueprints and architectural models. By integrating AR, manufacturers will be able to provide more insight to consumers, while ensuring the highest level of quality. Companies like Unilever are collaborating with companies like ScopeAR to create augmented reality training programs. This tool enables Unilever technicians to communicate with remote experts to better understand product design and production. In addition to enabling more insight into the manufacturing process, AR can also be used to help in construction projects. For instance, augmented reality allows construction workers to visualize architectural models and blueprints in a new and immersive way.
In addition to enabling reduced development time, modularization can lower costs and simplify manufacturing processes. In the industrial sector, it helps companies realize scale effects by producing a larger number of products in a shorter amount of time. Moreover, the process of modularization reduces tooling costs, which is an advantage for companies that have small production volumes. In addition, modularization reduces inventory levels. It reduces development effort compared to developing a one-off product because major components are developed just once.
Besides the cost savings, modularization also provides better quality and safety. It can reduce project schedules by 25-50%. It can also increase project efficiency and reduce downtime, especially on brownfield projects. However, it can also trigger higher costs, so it is important to make sure that modularization is right for your project.
Future fabrication using robotics (DF(x)) has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing by bringing mass customization to manufacturing processes. By increasing robot dexterity, modular robots can perform a variety of different tasks, and they can maintain mass production efficiency while producing bespoke orders. This technology offers bespoke services on a larger scale and at cost-effective rates. This technology is also becoming available as RaaS, a subscription-based service where customers lease the robotics from a service provider. This model has the potential to significantly reduce the initial investment for robotics implementation.
Robotics companies must balance the innate capabilities of their products with the needs of their customer base. Moreover, they must consider their existing business models and their resources. As a result, they need to build a flexible, scalable robot system that is cost-effective and customer-centric.
Modularization as a service model
For companies to adopt the modularization as a service model, they must be capable of hiring highly skilled workers. Such employees must be highly independent and reject the constraints of traditional management. Moreover, their leadership style should be able to empower them to experiment. They should also understand the product architecture.
The modularization process involves breaking products into interchangeable modules. The resulting product is more flexible, as it can be customized. It also enables economies of scale. By reusing components, companies can reduce the costs of assembling products and achieve greater customer value. Moreover, modular systems also allow for quicker product development.
The rise of digital manufacturing and its ability to scale manufacturing operations is changing manufacturing and the costs of fabrication. With digitization, manufacturing has become more efficient, portable, and repeatable. This has allowed designers to produce high-quality goods locally at low costs. Increased digitization will also decrease the costs of customization, giving local small-scale manufacturing an advantage.
In an era of digital fabrication, the workforce is rapidly evolving to meet the demands of smart manufacturing and new technologies. In addition to the traditional skills required for industrial design, manufacturing is also becoming more automated, using high-tech systems. Fab Lab Tulsa’s workforce program trains students to master the digital fabrication skills needed for future employment. The course is designed to educate high school graduates and adult learners seeking to upskill. It covers 3D printing, digital fabrication, and design thinking. The curriculum is project-based, and students document their work to create a digital portfolio or resume.
While the manufacturing climate in the U.S. faces several challenges, the future outlook for the industry is positive. More than 80% of manufacturers surveyed said they were optimistic about the future of manufacturing. As a result, the future of a career in fabrication is bright, according to D+M Metal Products.