The Industrial Revolution brought about remarkable changes in economies, manufacturing and job creation. In the Victorian Era, complex machines have been designed and patented to make life easier for the masses. The aim behind the technological advancements was for products and items to be mass produced at a lower price while massively increasing volume. The Western world’s economic output shot up and kept rising; thus, trade relationships around the globe expanding and enlarged.
There are now 7 billion people living in the world. The trouble manufacturers are now finding is that, although volume output is no longer an issue, but costs are continuing to rise. One way to keep ahead of this equation is to offer consumers something that no other company or business is. Futuristic manufacturing technologies are born out of innovation and thinking outside the box. With that in mind, this allows intricate and unique products to not only be designed but built on a vast scale. Businesses with unique products become the sole source for consumers, and in turn, can increase the price of them. This balances out the volume to cost deficit and once again productivity and higher paying jobs can be created.
3D printing is a relatively new manufacturing process, but it’s shown it is inevitable. The early popularity of 3D printing was driven by the need for technology businesses to bring early prototype designs to life with haste. Automated factory lines give companies same-day production capability which is estimated to save 1-2 weeks of this process from the previous decade. This is great news for prototype creating as new ideas or improvement evaluated in a computer simulation can be implemented almost immediately.
Formula 1 car wing designs can now have updates and corrections impacted on them in a shorter timescale. Therefore, they can be fitted to a model and tested in a wind tunnel to calculate the effectiveness of the improvement. This process is the exact same for aircraft design. When an improvement is detected in a simulator, 3D printing can implement it and a practical solution can then be tested for. As you might imagine, this saves an enormous amount of money.
The International Space Station has it’s very own 3D printer. In the past when a tool or delicate piece of equipment broke, and parts were needed to fix the apparatus, a small to medium sized cargo rocket had to be launched with repair tools and new parts. The rocket would launch a controllable vessel or sometimes even a manned space shuttle to dock with the ISS. However with a 3D printer on board, any small but tedious issue, like a screw coming loose, getting lost of breaking, can be fixed by printing a duplicate. This means, minor problems which would otherwise stop or jeopardize a mission or experiment, can be abated by solving the issue in real time; all while orbiting the earth at 16,000 mph.
Strong and versatile materials like steel can be engineered into intricate designs and detailed work. Laser cutting technology is an irreplaceable tool in car and aerospace engineering. Although like 3D printing which mainly produces items in different plastic composites, laser cutting is primarily used for carving out one-of-a-kind, metal pieces made as single parts to an overall complex machine. Car manufacturers apply this technology to forge specific components to an engine or gearbox. As research demands more efficient yet powerful engines, techniques and objectives evolve with them.
Aero engineering is no different. Akin to car parts, elaborate fan blades of a Rolls Royce blisk can only be produced with precise laser cutting, due to the complexity of the models. A blisk is the rotor component in a turbofan engine, which sucks in, and compresses the air to generate thrust. Each individual element of a module is cut out and can be integrated together using hermetic sealing also known as ‘laser welding.’ Precision mechanization is crucial in aero engineering because an aircraft goes through many different stressful situations each time it lifts off into the atmosphere.
Laser cutting has broad applications, and it’s being used to create complicated and customized graphic designs for jewelry and fashion. By cutting exclusive patterns and strokes in jewelry, the pieces are idiosyncratic in their nature. Jewels and diamonds made for the high-end consumer market have utilized this technology for clients who want to personalize necklaces, rings, bracelets and personal ornaments which bear gemstones.
Handcrafting has been given a new lease of life and an added avenue. Anything from wine glasses, coasters, keychains, clocks, dog collars, clocks, smartphone cases and business cards can all be personalized by a laser engraving service. Businesses around the world have taken to offering personalized products for customers. Mass production is all well and good for the general populace but generic gifts don’t mean as much as something that is customized to represent an individual’s personality, interest or achievements. Plates and cutlery are also able to be given the futuristic laser engraving treatment.
AI robots on the factory floor can perform a wide array of tasks to fulfill their job. Robots with smart learning and problem-solving software, are improving while they work. Directly linked to a company’s cloud database, information and lessons can be taught to a machine without having to shut it down or take it off the manufacturing line. With cameras for eyes, robots can recognize tools and appliances in order to use them correctly, just by examining their shapes. By matching patterns, the AI can hunt out irregularity and suggest errors to the cloud or a managing operator in at a monitoring computer. Using a worldwide database, an AI machine is also able to optimize a task it’s been set by sharing information with other robots around it. The adaptable brain of an AI robot means it’s able to carry out a precise action. This reduces the chances of a mistake being made, which reduces time and money being lost. Software updates can be done in a few seconds to a few minutes; thus AI is not only adaptable but also very easily upgraded and modernized.