In the last 40 years, the manufacturing industry has experienced many new integrations that have allowed for better methods of rapidly producing consumer products. Technology is playing a major role in revolutionizing the way we produce goods. From cars to hearing aids, some form of technology has been integrated to make the manufacturing process better, more streamlined, and more efficient.
For example, the number of industrial robots is continuing rise. Japan leads this charge by having introduced nearly 300,000 robots into industrial production. In today’s world, robots are becoming much more sophisticated, able to complete tasks in a fraction of the time it would take a human. From 2010 to 2016, Japan has seen a 20% increase in output thanks to robotic technology being used in their factories.
3D printing is also playing a major role in efficiently manufacturing products. Thanks to 3D printing technology, turnaround time on production is nearly cut in half. Some companies now have same-day production and shipping. This is rapidly changing the design cycle dynamic. A product that would normally take a month to go through the design modification phase now takes only a week.
Ford, for example, has to create a brand new mold every time they wanted to test out a new part for one of their engines. The process would typically take four to six months and cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, thanks to 3D printing, Ford is able to produce these new molds in just four days with costs amounting to $4,000.
This new form of rapid prototyping, accompanied by streamlined robotic assistance has helped companies revolutionize their manufacturing methods. No longer bound to old methods, manufacturers like Ford are able to experiment with new, more efficient design techniques which in turn helps create a better product for the end consumer.