If you have an interest in manufacturing, you may have noticed that the manufacturing industry is being increasingly driven by the availability of new technologies. Such technologies as robotics, lasers, computerized processes and 3D printing are having a transformative effect on manufacturing processes.
The modern industrial robot represents a feat of engineering. These robots are programmable in a way that allows them to repeat the same task, over and over, for years at a time; though robots are reprogrammable. That these robots can work for 24 hours a day is a significant boon for manufacturing operations that use them. Typically, industrial robots are used for such tasks as welding, assembly, painting, testing, and palletizing. They can carry out these tasks with incredible speed and precision.
Lasers have come to assume a variety of applications across the industrial sector, including drilling, cutting, and welding. A significant benefit of using a laser is that no contact tool is needed, unlike with a normal machine, so there is no tool bit to sharpen and replace at regular intervals. In addition, brittle materials that are difficult if not impossible to work using traditional types of machinery can be operated on using lasers. This has opened up a number of opportunities for industries to use materials that were once off-limits. Another benefit of using lasers in a manufacturing environment is that they are easily automated, which facilitates control by computer or robot.
If the idea of manufacturing in the absence of a factory seems too far-fetched for you then you can think again because 3D printing is making such a scenario a reality. 3D printing has actually been in existence for decades but it has become more prominent in recent years, owing to the incorporation of new materials and techniques, with the internet overseeing it all. The costs of 3D printers have plummeted, meaning that a manufacturing enterprise can set itself up at a relatively low cost.
3D printers are being used in the development of, among other things, lighter airplane parts and aerodynamic bodies for cars. In the future, it may be possible to print replacement parts on site, thus reducing the supply chain to virtually zero and alleviating the need for spare parts.
Transducer Techniques, a manufacturer of load cells, torque sensors, and similar instrumentation, has embraced computing technology to good effect. The company has deployed computing technology in its success as part of the overall resurgence in manufacturing in the US. A load cell is a transducer. Its role is to create an electrical signal with a magnitude in direct proportion to the force it is measuring. Load cells are used as a weight measurement device in various types of machinery. Industries that utilize load cells for the precise measurement of weights include the automotive industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and research laboratories. Transducer Techniques has carved a market niche for itself in response to the increasing demand for products from US manufacturers, owing to their reputation for reliability and quality.
Technology has always been at the heart of manufacturing, and new developments in technology will continue to drive change in the sector in the years ahead.