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Technologies Review | December 12, 2017

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Long-Term Effects of the Digitalisation of Manufacturing

Long-Term Effects of the Digitalisation of Manufacturing
Admin
  • On March 26, 2013
  • http://technologiesreview.com

The digitalisation of manufacturing, the usage of renewable energies and 3D printing are seen as important cornerstones of a new era often referred to as a fourth industrial revolution. It is believed that this revolution will impact on both the economy and society.

For instance, offshore production centres may move back to their home countries in order to satisfy the demand off higher skilled labour which profit from the know-how of the local specialists. Thus, over the course of the next 30 years, industrial plants may experience many changes; with their old machinery being decommissioned or dismantled and replaced by intelligent, digitalised ones which make use of renewable energies. Plant demolition and disposal contractors would clearly profit from that prognosis. Click here for more information about Plant Decommissioning with AinscoughVanguard.co.uk.

For over two decades, internet technology has been shaping business related and private processes. Being already utilised for product distribution, marketing and customer service activities, as well as more recently market research, social networks are now in their infancy as a means for internal and operational communication of enterprises and educational institutions.

Long-Term Effects of the Digitalisation of Manufacturing
In private environments, the World Wide Web turned away from its initial informational nature to become a virtual place where information is exchanged and created by anyone, and interpersonal relationships are built. Now it is believed that new developments will arrive soon or are currently revolutionising manufacturing processes; evolving industrial plants into highly interconnected and self-sufficient entities.

The peak of the digitalised production is 3-D printing. Here, a product is designed at a computer, and the 3-D printer produces the solid object by combining layers of material. The wider utilisation of this technology would help manufacturers to gain a higher level of flexibility sooner rather than later, and support a product’s customisation process significantly.

As a result, products would not be mass produced anymore, but rather could be adapted to varying customer tastes, which is currently only so far implemented in the automotive industry. Above that, delivery costs could be saved, as the required parts could be simply printed and would not need to be shipped anymore.

Similar to the three former industrial revolutions in the 17th, 18th and 20th century, evolving technology is again changing workers’ lives. For instance, increased staff efficiency levels are decreasing the number of workplaces.

The handling of the digitalised machines will be safer, but require an extended skill-set. Computer technology and programming skills will be soon important entry requirements for an employment in the manufacturing industry. Some positions will even be abolished completely, as products will be produced differently. Although effects on labour may seem negative, technical developments which increase efficiency levels of production processes and make use of renewable energies are the right steps to solve global issues such as the climate change and shrinking natural resources.