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Industry 4.0 is highly varied and, for manufacturers who are just now exploring digitization, it might feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are people out there who can help you understand its intricacies.

If you’re like many leaders of small and mid-sized manufacturing companies who are just starting out on their Industry 4.0 journeys, you could probably use a list of helpful places to turn to when you need to know what possibilities, solutions and providers are available.

Here’s a first look, alphabetized by focus area:

 

 Additive Manufacturing

There are many advantages that additive manufacturing can provide compared to traditional, subtractive processes. Material, geometry, and high customization all make this topic worth looking into. How could 3-D printing and manufacturing make your process more viable? What are the advantages? What are the opportunity costs? Find out from the following:

  1. America Makes
  2. American Society of Metals (ASM)
  3. Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT)
  4. Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET)
  5. The National Additive Manufacturing Association (NAMA)

 

Big Data and Cloud Computing

Interconnectedness is a hallmark of Industry 4.0 and it all starts from data. Once you’re IIoT-connected and have access to your factory’s manufacturing and machining data, what solutions could you leverage to your store, organize, retrieve and analyze it? The possibilities are endless. Check out:

  1. Amazon Web Services
  2. Automation Direct
  3. IBM Watson
  4. Microsoft Azure
  5. Oracle

 

Cybersecurity

Cyber risk isn’t a matter of “if.” It’s a matter of “when.” You must safeguard and back up your data, learn how to become more vigilant, and develop your company’s plan for recovery, should the worst happen. Furthermore, some organizations will not allow a business to collaborate unless they are adequately protected. Learn more from these resources:

  1. Automation Federatio
  2. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  3. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  4. National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)
  5. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

 

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Manufacturing data connectivity is already helping manufacturers of all sizes to improve their processes, discover new business opportunities, and become more profitable. Off-the-shelf, open source IIoT solutions can similarly help your business. Find out about them here:

  1. Association for Manufacturing Technology
  2. Cisco
  3. MTConnect(R) Institute
  4. Siemens
  5. TechSolve, Inc.

 

Modeling and Simulation

Digital Design and Manufacturing (DMAD) methodologies are exponentially speeding design-to-production timelines. 3-D modeling, virtual prototyping and product life cycle simulation tools can help your manufacturing company get to market faster than your competitors. Get the details from:

  1. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  2. The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT)
  3. CESMII
  4. Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) 
  5. Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)

 

Robotics and Automation

Machines aren’t replacing the human workforce. They’re freeing up humans’ innovative capacity. They’re reducing physical wear and tear on bodies. And they’re making us more efficient producers. How could a co-bot speed up your process? What are the different types and their opportunity costs? Read more about them at:

  1. Allied Automation
  2. KC Robotics
  3. Gosiger
  4. CBT Company
  5. Voelker Controls

 

We hope you found this list helpful.

Admittedly, this is just a high-level, first look at some of these technologies. We encourage you to conduct your own, additional research but you’ll find plenty of starting points to engage with here.

When you’re ready to move ahead, know that TechSolve experts are ready and willing to help you along the way. As your Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) provider for Southwest Ohio we’ll be happy to share our Industry 4.0 insights with you.

Click here to tell us about your company’s particular needs; we’ll listen carefully and guide you to best-fit solutions for them.