VDMA to develop a roadmap for 3D printing with manufacturing roadmap
The German Engineering Federation, VDMA, is developing a roadmap for additive manufacturing which outlines the journey towards Industry 4.0, 3D Printing Industry reports.
Through the VDMA project’s research, participants identified post-processing for 3D printed parts as the stage which needs the most development.
Members of the Additive Manufacturing Association within VDMA began development on a roadmap to discover a way to work out how to automate manufacturing processes for industrial 3D printing in 2017.
Rainer Gebhardt, project manager at VDMA, said: “In our working group Automation, we have manufacturers of AM systems, industrial users, suppliers of software and automation solutions, as well as representatives from science, all working together.”
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“If you look at it closely, you will find already today hotbeds for comprehensive automation and a consistent in-process quality control. We need to make them available to industrial users as quickly as possible.”
With 150 members from companies and research institutes in the manufacturing sector, the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association includes suppliers of post-processing and automation solutions.
From previous additive manufacturing roadmaps, the VDMA zoned in on the R&D issues in material logistics, data processing, the EHS area and process standardization.
Dr. Markus Heering, Managing Director of the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association, said: “We are convinced that our roadmaps provide an accurate summary of the work schedule for the next years.”
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.