Automation World is suggesting that the next step in automation is the democratization of engineering. The democratization of publishing is a reality now: with open source publishing software, AI in the web and automation from websites, anyone can publish their thoughts online and reach people more or less the same way Life magazine used to. Can people now take the art and science and enormous investments that have until now led to the production of objects like cars, use a 3-D printer and a little creativity, and get the same results?
Maybe so. There are millions of poor quality websites publishing low quality junk online. A determined additive manufacturer can turn out all kinds of things. Most of them may be junk, but the cream rises to the top, right?
Automation World is using the example of La Bandita, a car designed using virtual reality and machine learning to take data from current autos and synthesize the expert knowledge care manufacturers usually need to design a good automobile. With data from driving trials and VR testing, the racer’s design is based on math, not experience or training.
It’s not really about cars. It’s about the idea that sensors can collect data, computers can crunch the numbers at a level that wasn’t possible before, and then machine learning and VR can refine the ideas into a usable design. Add 3-D printers and CNC machines, and you can build anything.
What does this mean for manufacturers? The opportunity to customize to the level that consumers want. Advances in industrial automation are focused on this goal in many cases: smaller footprints, greater flexibility for short runs and special options, more cohesive supply chain integration — all of these new ideas are driven by the consumer demand for customization. Will customers be happy with highly refined custom objects that don’t actually work that well? Or will Industry 4.0 innovations actually make it possible to turn consumer dreams into reality?
Too soon to say.
In the meantime, we can help you keep your Rexroth industrial motion control up and running. Call us to get service and support for all Rexroth electric motion control, from legacy parts to the newest generation.