Protolabs and Censuswide survey suggests manufacturing is not ready for Industry 4.0
The manufacturing solutions firm, Protolabs, and the survey specialist, Censuswide, have consucted research into the future of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing.
According to the survey, one fifth of UK businesses claim that the manufacturing industry is unprepared for Industry 4.0.
28.2% of senior business decision makers still associate the industry with assembly lines, whilst 24.6% associate it with manual labour.
Only one in ten of the decision makers connect Industry 4.0 and manufacturing – suggesting software, robotics, and advanced automation do not link with the sector.
15% of those surveyed utilise no automation in their manufacturing operations, with 9.7% not anticipating to increase use in the next five years. 15% expected to marginally increase automation usage.
“The UK manufacturing sector is powered by innovation, and driven by entrepreneurial individuals partnered with highly-skilled engineers,” commented Stephen Dyson at Protolabs.
“This sector has embraced the benefits of digital technologies and automation possibly more than any other, and now the growth of digitisation is starting to transform manufacturing.”
“‘Industry 4.0’ is a more than a concept – we are living in it right now. However, the results of this survey indicate that there is limited understanding of Industry 4.0 and the impact it has already made, and will continue to make, to the progress of manufacturing.”
“Additionally, the survey statistics reflect that manufacturing is not viewed as a high-tech, digitally-savvy industry, which is what British businesses increasingly are. Instead, the inherent perception remains of manufacturing with manual, labour-intensive processes.”
Hexagon Revolutionises Manufacturing Design Process
A global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, Hexagon recently announced that complex CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations can now be completed with the help of the world’s fastest supercomputer, Fugaku. Before this breakthrough, CFD simulations were far too expensive and time-consuming to run. Now, however, engineers can use these high-detail simulations to explore new ideas, iterate their designs, and optimise next-gen aircraft and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Thanks to Hexagon, manufacturers can now analyse what they’re up against before starting their build process—with one-third the energy use of traditional simulations and a fraction of the cost. This is only the latest step in Hexagon’s mission to use design and engineering data to speed up smart manufacturing. As the company wrote: ‘The idea of putting data to work is part of Hexagon’s DNA’.
What Are CFD Simulations?
Simply put, they’re simulations so complex and powerful that engineers usually have to spend hours upon hours simplifying their designs. 90% of an engineer’s time can centre around this task—but not with Fugaku-powered simulations. Now, original designs can be fed into the simulation software, reaching a much closer approximation of reality.
With the ARM-powered Fugaku supercomputer, Hexagon’s Cradle CFD clients can now reduce simulation cost, conserve valuable energy, and integrate high-detail simulations into their daily operations. At a time when the automotive and aerospace industries are racing to bring safe and sustainable transport options to market, in fact, CFD simulations could be the key to success.
How Does CFD Change the Game?
As auto manufacturers transition to electric vehicles, they must understand how design adjustments will affect the vehicle in real-time. Instead of physically iterating their blueprints, they’d rather work it out in theory. With CFD, engineers can now pre-test critical safety, performance, and longevity features—for example, how aerodynamics will interact with energy efficiency, or how thermal management will operate under a range of parameters. Essentially, CFD simulations speed up the design process and cut down on costly mistakes.
Said Roger Assaker, President of Design & Engineering in Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division: ‘Simulation holds the key to innovations in aerospace and eMobility. Advances such as the low-power Fugaku supercomputing architecture are one of the ways we can tap into these insights without costing the Earth, and I am delighted by what our Cradle CFD team and our partners have achieved’.
How Did Testing Unfold?
- Prototyped a typical family car. This is only possible with enhanced computing power. The car model consisted of 70 million elements using 960 cores and was simulated until it reached a steady-state using the RANS equation over 1000 cycles.
- Simulated transonic compressible fluid around an aeroplane. Made up of approximately 230 million elements, the simulation used 4,000 nodes using 192,000 computing cores and relied on 48,000 processes via Message Passing Interface (MPI).
Tomohiro Irie, Hexagon’s Director of R&D for Cradle CFD, commented on the recent progress: ‘I expect that these technical developments will contribute to making the power of Fugaku more accessible for general use, bringing huge freedom and improved insights to engineering teams solving tomorrow’s problems today’.
Overall, Hexagon intends to continue driving product innovation forward, with smart manufacturing that adapts to conditions in real-time, pursues perfect quality, and optimises designs for zero waste. And there’s little doubt about it. With 20,000 employees in 50 countries, coupled with Fugaku’s supercomputing capabilities, Hexagon is uniquely poised to succeed.