The digital manufacturing revolution gathering pace in the UK

The digital revolution is accelerating through technologies such as high-volume data, analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation and the Internet of things. And the manufacturing sector is now beginning to accept its own changes. Transform to a technology that has the potential to digitize the entire production process and supply chain.

3D printing is leading the $ 12 trillion manufacturing world. We are changing the way we think, design, create, distribute and consume. Digital technology gives manufacturers the opportunity to change production methods.

And the UK is ideally positioned to play a leading role in the development of utterly destructive technology.

Complete Circle

3D printing quickly generates an entirely new model of industrial production. While updating the manufacturing of today's hyperlinked digital economy, we are reaping the benefits of a long-unused method.

Think for a moment before the first industrial revolution, when the product was designed and built by craftsmen. They are custom made to order and aimed at local consumption.

Then there were the first two industrial revolutions driven by steam and electricity. They have ended this model by separating design and manufacturing.

However, both functions were in the same geographic location. That is, until the time of IT and the Internet came into existence. The third industrial revolution connected the world by eliminating the need for physical proximity between design, production and consumption. Therefore, the current manufacturing paradigm is to produce products at the lowest cost and transport them to demand.

A model that complicates long supply chains with a great distance between manufacturing and consumption. These are not expensive. They are also hard and inefficient to match supply and demand. And they have to move the product around the world to damage the environment.

But now 3D printing is leading, and new digital manufacturing models are emerging. It is applied to the digital era by regaining the custom production ability of the entire industrial era.

Digital production technology is moving from mass production to mass customization. This accelerates design, innovation and production, reduces manufacturing costs, and drives a more flexible supply chain. Advances in Metals HP's recently announced 3D printing technology, such as Metal Jet, is accelerating the fourth industrial revolution by allowing mass production of machine-function parts.

Green certification

3D printing also improves manufacturing sustainability. Numerous Fronts

First, there is the potential to lead to vast supply chain efficiency. The modern supply chain accounts for about 22% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Simple products like shoes can contain more than 25 ingredients from around the world.

But thanks to digital production, shoe retailers can now manufacture their own shoes. Likewise, furniture stores can print their favorite coffee table designs, but automakers can make the necessary components at the factory.

It means everyone is reducing the number of containers loaded on huge diesel powered freighters. Freight cars that block highways and pollute the air are reduced. It is much more economical and much more sustainable.

Traditional manufacturing methods are good at material waste. They stamp, cut or cut the finished product, and they collect up to 30 pounds of garbage per pound of product. Conversely, 3D printers can achieve 98% material efficiency when producing finished products.

Finally, digital production can be used to dramatically reduce production. You can create items specifically to eliminate over-production without having to create millions of components to drive economies of scale.

3D printing can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 525 million tons. It's like you can ride over 100 million passenger cars on the road.

Age is approaching

Despite the dramatic benefits, however, some circles have nagging. 3D printing has yet to reach full maturity.

But this is simply not true. Digital manufacturing methods are already being used in large scale customized production methods.

For example, the Royal Navy used to develop unmanned aircraft suitable for service in harsh environments in Antarctica. Made with traditional manufacturing processes, Drones can not operate in extreme climates. In addition, the 3D printing model of the Navy is much cheaper than conventional methods.

And FICEP Steel Surface Systems uses digital building technology to improve the performance of steel used in key architectural projects. Strengths and Weaknesses

In the UK, the Digital Production sector has a real opportunity to claim that it is a leader in new global manufacturing orders.

A recent study by HP and A.T. Kearney has the UK in the top five of the world in readiness for 3D printing. Behind the German industrial powerhouse, research from 30 countries took second place in Europe. And we have the third fastest growing 3D printing market in the world, which suggests that our competitiveness can be further improved.

However, there is a problem that needs to be solved at the same time. This report does not allow the UK workforce to place the top 10 digital manufacturing capabilities in the world for 3D printing.

Despite this lack of technology, I am confident that digital production technology will provide a lifelong opportunity for our economy. However, the 3D printing ecosystem must be able to converge. Engineers, designers, manufacturers, researchers, device manufacturers, educators, and governments all need to support the UK 3D printing industry and support UK business access to digital production technology.

George Brasher is Managing Director of the UK. HP