Just as the steam engine kicked off the first industrial revolution, completely changing the way goods were produced, the fourth industrial revolution is underway – thanks, in part, to a key innovation: data.
A greater incorporation of data, as a tool, into manufacturing environments is spurring on exploration of a bold new frontier: where digital meets physical.
In Asia-Pacific, this movement, also known to many industry experts as Industry 4.0, is well underway. What exactly does this mean for manufacturing in the region, and how is SOLIDWORKS 2017 helping to further advance this data-driven wave?
A glimpse at factory 4.0
One of the biggest drivers behind the fourth industrial revolution is the need to address a growing demand for customised products. Ironically, this trend reverses the movement towards standardisation, a cornerstone of the first industrial revolution. Now, rather than producing identical products, an industrial workflow must be able to instantly adjust to accommodate a number of different potential configurations without interrupting momentum.
This is where data as a tool comes in, travelling with products in progress as they move throughout stages of development. Enabled by the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), sensors in plant machinery will be able to communicate with tags embedded in the unfinished product, conveying detailed information about assembly instructions and requirements. The connected factory of the future will be able to handle customised builds seamlessly and at the same rate as standardised models.
In this video, Rich Allen, SOLIDWORKS director of portfolio management, discusses the role of SOLIDWORKS in the industrial IoT.
Moving forward in Asia-Pacific
Much like other such innovations, Industry 4.0 is not taking hold at a constant rate across the globe; different regions are adopting these transformative processes at their own pace.
The Asia-Pacific manufacturing sector is already embracing the digital transformations necessary for Industry 4.0.
A January 2015 McKinsey & Company survey of industry leaders showed that less than half of manufacturers believe they are prepared for the changes brought about by Industry 4.0. One of the most pressing concerns is legacy equipment – survey respondents believe that as much as 50 per cent of machines currently in place will need to be replaced or upgraded.
Manufacturing in the Asia-Pacific region, however, is slightly ahead of the pack in this revolutionary journey. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey found that 40 per cent of Asia-Pacific industrial organisations view themselves as having a high rate of digitisation. More significantly, PwC projects that this number will hit almost 70 per cent by 2021.
Industrial IoT spending, a key indicator of potential digital growth, aligns nicely with these estimates. According to Frost & Sullivan, the industrial sector is set to make up almost 20 per cent of IoT expenditure in Asia-Pacific by 2020.
This advancement of industrial infrastructure will be key in establishing Asia-Pacific as a global leader in Industry 4.0.
Enabling innovation with SOLIDWORKS 2017
Even with all the progress that has been made to date in this fourth industrial revolution, it is still in its infancy. It is certain that the most drastic changes and transformations are still to come, currently taking shape in innovative minds around the world.
— SOLIDWORKS (@SOLIDWORKS) September 28, 2016
This is just one of the several ways where SOLIDWORKS 2017 will play its part, giving forward thinkers the tools they need to design the next generation of products, and the machinery that helps create them. One of the new features helping deliver this is SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect, which allows users to work with proprietary 3D CAD files in SOLIDWORKS. This interoperability between design platforms will enable enhanced collaboration in design and manufacturing, opening up pathways for cooperation between designers and other stakeholders.
To learn more about other exciting features of SOLIDWORKS 2017, contact us today. Be sure to watch this video to learn more about 3D Interconnect.