Advanced manufacturing – Industry 4.0 and beyond

The manufacturing industry has always been the early adopter of technological advancements

In the early 17th century the steam engine powered mechanisation heralded the 1st industrial revolution. The second industrial revolution riding on the perfection of the combustion engine came to light in the 19th century and by 1969 robotic and automated technologies advanced the fourth industrial revolution.

Today, the world bolstered by a slew of disruptive trends, inclusive of – big data, advanced analytics and intelligent systems, improved connectivity and relatively new forms of interaction between humans and machines – is heading to a new industrial phase, better known as Industry 4.0.

Illustration of Industry 4.0, showing the four "industrial revolutions" with a brief English description.

Intelligent Manufacturing

The German government coined the term Industry 4.0 as a description for intelligent network manufacturing processes. And true to that mandate, today it represents everything that makes advanced manufacturing powered by smart systems possible. Industry 4.0 relies on:

  • Digitalisation – propelled by a new generation of integrated sensors
  • Advanced analytics with the inherent ability to churn significant volumes of data and develop advanced controls
  • Improved machine-human interacting systems the likes of Augmented reality (AR) and full option touch capable interfaces
  • Next-gen robotics, automation, and 3D printing technologies

While the majority of these technologies and in extension industry 4.0 are still regarded to be at a basic level, their impacts in the world of manufacturing have been no short of phenomenal.

The case of Tesla and Woolworths

To keep up with its dream of transitioning the world from fossil-based fuels to renewable energy Tesla had to overturn a slew of challenges – ramping up production of its lithium Ion power packs being the most implicative. Conventional methods of producing these batteries were not only expensive but also time-consuming, a reality that had the potential to bring Tesla’s plans to a grinding halt.

How did the company respond – launch plans to create the Gigafactory, which when completed will be one of the world’s most extensive implementation of industry 4.0. By combining digitalised technologies, an ensemble of robotic systems and manipulating the economies of scale the company managed to come up with a production model that halved the basic cost price and production period of its power packs.

Woolworths on the other hand, just this year, commissioned plans to set up a $350 million automated distribution center. When completed (presumably in 2019), this system, laden with automated and robotic sorting systems, will have the combined capacity of two of Woolworths’ conventional distribution centers.

There’s a reason companies like Woolworths and Tesla are hitching on to industry 4.0. For Tesla, it defies conventional limitations in the manufacturing process while opening doorways to future revolutionary tech. Tesla’s Gigafactory will increase global battery production by two folds when it comes online, and experts project over $45 million in savings per annum for Woolworths on completion of its automated distribution center.

Elevating your business with Industry 4.0 – the B&C way

Industry 4.0 is however not exclusive to just the world’s industry heavyweights. Companies, even those lacking the enormous financial backings and technical capabilities of the former, can partake of the Industry 4.0 banquet by leveraging on the efficiencies of high yield – low-cost outsourcing firms like B&C.

B&C is an industry 4.0 complaint contract-manufacturing outfit specialised in the fabrication of a broad range of client specific plastic components. By combining innovation, efficiency and the latest array of high tech industry-leading technologies, B&C works to deliver a wholesome dose of the industry 4.0 promise to clients both in Australia and the world over. In line with the Industry 4.0 mandate, B&C custom plastic components are not just cost-effective but qualitative by every stretch of quality standards.

More so, because of an ingenious production process (backed by Industry 4.0 technologies), B&C can design and translate with stunning accuracy the mockup design into fully functional products that are 100% exact to the original specimen. The implication of this is that B&C, unlike conventional manufacturing firms, has the capabilities to produce precision components and equipment for its client as per specifications.

Have an idea, design or product you want to develop, now’s the time to hitch on to the industry 4.0 train of efficiency. Its benefits are far reaching and could be the catalyst that drives your company from barely scalable to fully functional and profitable, just like the Gigafactory promises to do for Tesla.

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Our 5 Step Process

 

 
  •  

Identifying

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  • Find someone you can talk with about your idea that has experience
  • Build a relationship
  • Find someone you can trust
  • Meet & greet
  • Make a decision to proceed

Visualising

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  • Meeting to discuss product design brief
  • Receive detailed proposal and engage our team
  • Innovative concept designs for your consideration
  • Innovative & dimensional product designs
  • Engineering and polymer analysis

Prototyping

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  • Final approval on 3D models
  • Select best method of prototype:
  • Rapid prototyping, 3D printing, CNC machined, Silicone tooling, Vacuum cast
  • Analyse prototype
  • Get feedback and input from trusted parties

Commercialising

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  • Awareness and Direct Marketing
  • Sales distribution channels to market
  • Sell sell sell
  • Product improvements
  • Additional products to create a product range
  • R&D – PWC

Manufacturing

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  • Mould manufacture
  • Off tool samples for your approval and testing
  • Manufacture of your product
  • Quality assurance
  • Packaging and distribution

 

 
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