When the phrase, “advanced manufacturing,” first burst onto the scene a few years ago, few of us knew what to make of it . Did it apply literally to how things were made, like with CNC machining or 3D printing? Was it a reference to robotics and other trends affecting the changing factory floor like wearables and AR? Or did it mean the increasing amount of new-fangled, high-tech products manufacturers were making? The shift of business operations into the cloud? The coming Industrial Internet of Things?
The concern over a solid definition wasn’t a philosophical one. Like all things in the manufacturing business, shifting realities always result in shifting markets and profit margins. If manufacturing was advancing , we needed to figure out how to leverage that advance for competitive gain . Of course, leveraging what you don’t quite have a bead on isn’t easy.
Thankfully, the passage of time has a way of making things clear. Since we first began fretting over it, “advanced manufacturing” has ceased to be a buzzword and morphed convincingly into a game plan. Robots, cloud computing, wearables, Jetsons-like products , data mining and analytics, machine learning, IIoT, AR — it’s all advanced manufacturing. It’s all […]