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Emerging Tech Trends in Manufacturing

The introduction of the new digital age has brought with it many modern manufacturing technologies, most of them specifically relevant to Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution, associated with automation, data exchange, digital technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the Internet of Things.

Therefore, a lot of the manufacturing technologies innovating production and industry are also relevant to this fourth wave of technological advancement.

Over the past year, we have seen how the global pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital. In particular, we have seen how this had affected manufacturers, forcing many to shift the way they think and use technology.

Results of a pollof several hundred U.S. manufacturing executives conducted by Deloitte in November 2020 found that more than three-quarters (76%) expect their companies to increase investment in digital initiatives, and to pilot and implement more Industry 4.0 technologies, in the year ahead.

In February, the Global Manufacturing & Industrial Summit released a report looking at trends that will dominate the manufacturing sector in 2021. The report explores how organisations are turning from crisis mode to recovery mode, as we continue to progress into the new year.

As part of this shift, the manufacturing industry is predicted to undergo huge changes during 2021.

Increased Investment In IIoT

One of the first trends the report looks at is Investment in Industrial Internet of Things. Though the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a more common, widespread technology in the manufacturing industry, it remains at the top of trends lists year after year for its adaptability and innovation Hitachi Solutions

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to connect and monitor operational components with unprecedented ease and efficiency. The digital connectedness of the manufacturing process enables organisations to continuously modify and improve their processes using accurate, real time data that will aid efficiency, reduce waste, and improve the overall quality of products.

For instance, using smart sensors, remote supervisory control and data acquisition, IoT is able to drive industrial advancement by improving safety, streamlining manufacturing and delivering cost savings on record levels.

Taking this concept further, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will become a major element of Industry 4.0, enhancing mobility, flexibility and resilience on an unparalleled level. The IIoT has the potential to transform traditional, linear manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, interconnected value chains that can incorporate ecosystem partners in a more interconnected way, driving industrial connectivity, productivity, and performance across the world.

As a result of this potential, Forbes expects more than $267 billion to be invested globally in IoT technology over the next five years, with the majority of the investment being made in manufacturing, transportation, and logistics.

Glocalisation

At the start of January 2021, Forbes took a look at Manufacturing Tech Trends To Look For In 2021. One of the key trends pointed out by Forbes was the Move to Glocalisation.

Glocalisationis the combination of the words ‘globalisation’ and ‘localisation’. It is a term that is used to describe a type of business that has been seeing more and more growth, a type of business that is distributed globally but adjusted to meet local needs as well.

Due to the effects of the pandemic on international borders and business travel, Forbes predicts that many companies will focus on balancing localised and globalised business options in order to stay competitive.

TheGlobal Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), and leading professional services firm, PwC, launched a report outlining the 2021 key global trends that will enable manufacturers to succeed at glocalisation. The report highlights that companies must regionalise their footprint, increase the use of robotics for manufacturing and logistics, and change the cost model for production and sourcing.

The report states that amid these emerging themes, COVID-19 has ensured that the case for moving from global to glocal operations has gained significant momentum. Reflecting on various global perspectives where the pandemic has accelerated efforts by industrial companies to make inflexible global footprints more agile and responsive to demand.

A Surge in 3D Printing

Another trend reported by Forbes is a Surge in 3D Printing. According to the Association of Supply Chain Management, COVID-19 gave the world a glimpse into how 3D Printing can be used temporarily to alleviate the strain on supply chains during demand surges and shortages, as it did with medical equipment.

In May 2020, we looked atHow Manufacturers Are Pulling Together in the Fight Against COVID-19 and how 3D Printing played a huge role in this. We saw how manufacturers were rapidly switching and upscaling production through the use of 3D Printing. Complex parts could be made anywhere with the power of advanced digital design and 3D Printing.

The supply chain disruptions of 2020 pushed many companies to radically rethink their design & manufacturing strategy, says Brad Rothenberg, founder and CEO of 3D Printing software company nTopology.

Inventors are combining 3D Printing with traditional processes creating unique combinations of parts that perform better with lower cost that can be manufactured closer to the customer, all while being more sustainable.

Robotics

Back to the GMIS report on trends that will dominate the manufacturing sector in 2021, and another focus is on Robots and Cobots.

As reported by BeeKeeper.io ‘Robots on the factory floor are growing at warp speed thanks to their declining cost and increasing capabilities’.

The pandemic saw a huge uptake of factory robots, with companies of all sizes leaning on automation to keep their factories running. Digital insights site, Diginomicabelieves that in 2021, cobots will no longer be a pandemic-inspired experiment, but a critical necessity to sustain required automation and output throughout the year.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, there are a record 2.7 millionindustrial robots operating in factories worldwide, with robotic shipments up 41% over 2018, particularly in non-automotive workplaces. These figures are likely to grow in 2021.

Robotics allow faster production by reducing the risk of human error or injury, increasing the speed of production, and their systems can be updated as soon as the technology becomes available. As a result, incorporating robotics into manufacturing processes allows organisations to reduce costs and waste, all whilst improving quality.

Collaborative robots (cobots), automated guided vehicles (AGV), autonomous mobile robots (AMR), intelligent logistics, and robotic sorting systems are likely to see high levels of demand in 2021. These robotic and automation systems are expected to grow along with the recovery in logistic, warehousing, packaging, and semiconductor sectors.

Automation

Automation in manufacturing is not a new concept, but the level of adoption and its application has boomed over the past ten years. The wider availability and lowering cost of implementing automation has allowed cutting-edge automation technology to reach more areas of the sector and throughout the world, and as a consequence, automation is changing the way manufacturers make.

With manufacturing automation, organisations are reducing costs, optimising workflows, and increasing their bottom line. It is a critical trend that will only grow as more companies along the value change adopt this approach.

Forbes report that despite the doomsday headlines of years past, its clear by now that automation is not just replacing existing work but instead, creating new work.

Digital Connectivity

Supply Chain Technology

In 2020, the manufacturing and food processing industries were severely impacted by the global pandemic. From closed facilities to rigid communication channels, it was difficult for some to remain flexible.As a result,94%of Fortune 1000 companies experienced disruptions in their supply chain.

In 2021, digital connectivity will be one of the dominating trends in manufacturing and food processing. Businesses will be looking to digitally connect as many aspects of the production process as possible to stay ahead of further disruptions.

Digital Transformation on the Factory Floor

The pandemic reminded manufacturers about the fragility of relying on labour, access to physical space, and centralised factories halfway around the world to produce goods.

Fortunately, advanced technology sensors, machine learning, computer vision, robotics, cloud computing, edge computing, and 5G network infrastructure has proven to increase supply chain resiliency for manufacturers who adopt it, reports Forbes.

Digital Twins

According to Deloittes 2021 Manufacturing Industry Outlook report, Digital twin technology could support new levels of resilience and flexibility in 2021, and can help prepare manufacturers for any future disruptive events.

Deloittes poll of manufacturing executives identified that 24% of executives who plan to invest in digital technologies believe digital twin technology will be the most important technology in which their company will invest in 2021 (tied for first with augmented workforce efficiencies).

Using a digital twin, a manufacturer can virtually recreate a product, its production, and even simulate its performance in the real world without having to bend metal or take any other physical action.

Digital twins offer a wide range of benefits, including increased productivity, by reducing development time for new products and avoiding costly defects. But perhaps the greatest opportunity for digital twins in a post COVID-19 world is their ability to enable the flexibility and agility that manufacturers may need to respond to the unknowns of the constantly shifting new normal.

Edge Intelligence

Forbes report that in 2021, agility will be critical. For example, collaborative robots, require manufacturers to become better equipped to respond to changing situations, since cobots make real-time, complex decisions during the task they work on with humans.

To get there, computing power and data processing must shift to the edge, or closer to where the data is being created, in order to reduce latency and boost processing.

Moving to the edge will protect the safety and security of the workforce, says Flavio Bonomi, board advisor to Lynx Software Technologies. At the same time, it helps manufacture goods in a more agile, efficient manner.

According to the IDC Data Age report The Digitization of the World, by 2025, 175 zettabytes (or 175 trillion gigabytes) of data will be generated around the globe and edge devices will create more than 90 zettabytes of that data.

Edge computing is a distributed computing model in which computing takes place near the physical location of production, rather than on a centralised server or in the cloud.

In manufacturing, edge computing resources can include machines, gateways, protocol converters, or other types of industrial controllers.

Most often in manufacturing, edge computing refers to the use of a dedicated edge device.

It is game-changing for the manufacturing sector as by distributing computing resources, manufacturers can improve data processing speed, filter signal from noise early, and improve data accessibility.

Get Started with Digital Transformation

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The ongoing global pandemic has sparked a huge push todigital.

In August 2020, we spoke about how COVID-19 has accelerated Digital Transformation. Noting that the pandemic has dramatically sped up digital transformation, with companies not only wanting to embrace digital but needing to in order stay agile, efficient and resilient.

Forbes reports that although in the early days of the pandemic manufacturers were hit hard with forced shutdowns, production slowdowns and serious questions about whether companies could navigate the disruptions. What did increase in 2020, was the speed of transformation.

Companies made swift moves towards Industry 4.0, or the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices.

The pandemic has transformed the way we work, impacted every industry, and changed the direction of business strategies for many. Businesses are now looking at ways to work smarter, save money and survive.

But the pandemic has not slowed innovation – if anything, it has been amplified!

As organisations across all industries ready themselves for the next phase, Microsoft believes their focus will be on strengthening business resilience and agility, and at the heart of this will be the willingness to embrace new technology.

Advancing Technology and Innovation

Technology is always changing and improving. Things that were previously thought to be impossible are now being made possible at a very fast pace.

We have seen a shift where digital is a key part of every interaction.

Emerging technologies are reimagining how we organise, operate, and strategise.

Cox Blue state ‘the rate at which technology trends evolve can be daunting for any business owner. It seems at times, that almost as quickly as a company adopts new technology, its outdated, or a new version or product has already launched to take its place.’

Technology is advancing at a rate never seen before.

We are frequently seeing new innovative trends that are helping us work more efficiently, communicate with consumers and seize new opportunities.

As Medium suggests, with new trends constantly emerging, keeping up to date can be tricky for anyone. But staying on top of the new technologies shaping your industry is essential for driving innovation, accomplishing business goals, and remaining competitive.

“Stayingcurrent withtechnology willprepareyour businessfor changing consumer demands and expectations.Keeping upwith these trendswillincreaseyourrelevancy and customer appeal, whichwillset you apart fromthe competition.” – Cox Blue.

The Importance of Keeping Up with Technology

Technology will continue to advance and customers will find new and exciting ways to use it, Axis Technical group notes.

It is crucial for businesses to follow new emerging tech trends, understand them and take advantage of them in order to succeed.

In todays rapidly transforming business world that is driven by digital, there can be major consequences for businesses that fail to move with the times. There are many examples of this to name just a couple.

Eastman Kodak were once the worlds biggest film company. It was a Kodak electrical engineer who invented the first digital camera in 1975. Kodak held back from developing digital cameras for the mass market for fear of eradicating its all-important film business. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Later re-emerging as a smaller company in 2013. With the management of Kodak so focused on the success of film, they missed the opportunity of this digital revolution that would change the photography industry.

Another example, home movie and video game rental services giantBlockbuster Video, arguably one of the most iconic brands in the video rental space. In 2000, Netflix proposed a partnership with Blockbuster, for Blockbuster to advertise Netflix in-store and let them run Blockbuster online. The CEO at the time, John Antioco turned this down. Netflix offered something new, instead of charging to rent videos and adding fines for late return, Netflix offered subscriptions to customers. This business model proved to be very disruptive.

Later, Antioco proposed the idea of discontinuing the fees that annoyed customers and invest heavily in a digital platform, however, the cost of this would amount to $400 million which was deemed too damaging to the companies profitability. 5 years later, in 2010 Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy. In 2019, Netflix was a $28 billion-dollar company.

If companies fail to keep up with technology and stay one step ahead of the game, they risk missing new opportunities for the business, falling behind and even becoming irrelevant.

How DriveWorks Keep Up with Technology

At DriveWorks we are continually keeping an eye on what’s happening in the industry, from new innovative technology to tech trends that are emerging.

At the rate technology is advancing, we see now more than ever how important it is to adapt and be responsive.

The internet is a great resource, giving us access to everything. There are many tech websites that report on trending topics. You can read blogs, visit forums or listen to podcasts to get the latest tech news. Social media is another tool that is important to see what people in the industry are talking about.

Every year we attend industry tradeshows and events where we meet a wide variety of people from all parts of the manufacturing and technology sectors.

Although due to the pandemic this year has been a bit different. These types of events are great to see what technology companies are showing and what everyone is talking about. Many of these events are now virtual, giving us all more opportunities to attend and learn. We’ll be at this year’s virtual 3DEXPERIENCE World with a team of experts live on our booth throughout the event. It’s free to attend – sign up and chat with us on our booth.

The DriveWorks team are innovative and always looking for ways to make our software the best it can be. We work hard to keep our knowledge up to date and be agile. We understand that technology does not stand still and that we must continually evolve as the world around us does.

A Week of Learning, Networking and Sharing Ideas

Every year we host our own annual technical training event, DriveWorks World.

DriveWorks World brings together DriveWorks users from all around the world for a week of learning, networking and sharing knowledge.

During the event, whether it be in person or digital, we share Whats New in the latest release of DriveWorks software anddeliver hands-on learning and advanced sessions.

The sessions cover lots of different topics at a variety of skill levels. The sessions range from core topics such as rules, 3D, workflow, design automation, but also include looking at newer trends such as 3D printing, CPQ, the cloud, business process automation and digital transformation.

It’s also a valuable opportunity for us to speak to our customers in industry to learn from them and gain their feedback!

See Our Technology in Action

See what’s possible with DriveWorks and how versatile the software is.

Explore our range of configurator examples at driveworkslive.com

One Year On

This month marks one year since we received our double Queen’s Awards.

The awards are tangible recognition of our team’s hard work and commitment. We’re still just as proud today to be Queen’s Award holders as we were when we first received them.

This time last year, 4 members of the DriveWorks team had been to Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Awards winners reception. Whilst there, they met and spoke with HRH Prince Charles.

We then hosted a Digital Technology and Automation open day, where we were presented with our Queen’s Awards for Innovation and International Trade.

We couldn’t have predicted the year that would unfold following receiving our Queen’s Awards but our commitments to innovation and international trade, recognised by our Queen’s Awards, have helped us to remain strong and efficient throughout this pandemic.

Let’s take a look back at what’s happened in the past year.

Our Double Queens Award Presentation and Technology Open Day

OnFriday 6th September 2019, we held our Queens Award Presentation and Digital Technology & Automation Open Day at our corporate headquarters in Thelwall, Warrington.

Proudly flying the Queens Award flag, we welcomed 135 gueststo join us.

We gathered in the courtyard in front of the Barley Store, asthe Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire,Mr David Briggs M.B.E. presented the two awards andRoyal Grant of Appointmentsto our company founders, DriveWorks CEO Glen Smith and Vice President, Maria Sarkar, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

The Queens Awards are the highest award available to UK businesses, recognisingoutstanding achievement.

More than 200 businesses, including 151 small and medium enterprises, were awarded Queens Awards for Enterprise in April.

In 2019, only 6 companies received a Double Queens Award, and we were extremely proud to be one of them!

David Briggs M.B.E described the awards as atruly great achievement and a testament to the hard work and commitment from the entire DriveWorks team.

Amongst the guests joining us to celebrate our achievements were Cllr Wendy Johnson, Mayor of Warrington, Faisal Rashid, Local MP for Warrington South, members of the Warrington Business Exchange, DriveWorks customers, resellers, friends, family andmany other members of the local community.

We set up technology demonstrations to showcase our award-winning software and give guests the opportunity tosee the software in action.

There were live configurators, videos, 3D printers and virtual reality to explore.

What We’ve Been up to Since Our Queen’s Awards

Surviving a Pandemic

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, there was a lot of uncertainty for many businesses. Companies struggled to adjust and employees were furloughed or let go.

For us, we were very grateful for our previous investments in technology, and our ongoing commitment to digital transformation. Our team are well set up for working remotely and we were able to transition to completely working from home overnight.

We have remained open and operational throughout. All our teams have continued to work hard and support our channel as usual.

As we settled into a new way of working, it wasnt just business as usual for our team. If anything, it was business with a boost!

Whilst it’s still been uncertain and difficult at times, our team have embraced this time as an opportunity to improve, create and innovate. With reduced travel, events and other external activities, we adapted some roles within the company, giving us more time to spend on creating great training content and learning materials for our customers and resellers.

Weve also been hearing from our customers who have been embracing change. Some companies changed their manufacturing to provide much-needed supplies, some worked on new product ideas, and others used this time to improve and work on projects they dont usually have time for.

Many of our customers are focusing on moving forward and working smarter.

Continuously Innovating

We are really proud to have been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Innovation. Innovation is at our core and we’re constantly investing, researching, developing and moving forward.

Following receiving the awards last year, we released two software service packs, DriveWorks 17 SP1 and DriveWorks 17 SP2.

We then went into lockdown at a critical stage of the release process for our next major software version, DriveWorks 18 testing! Every release of DriveWorks is tested rigorously. As a team, we rely on our software and we know our customers do too, so it’s vital that every software version we release is robust, obvious and innovative.

Were proud that we released a major software version, rigorously tested (and used by us!) during a global pandemic whilst our team were all working remotely.

As always we also released a full online help file for DriveWorks 18 and provided training resources and hands-on classes as part of DriveWorks World 2020.

DriveWorks World is our annual technical training event and an opportunity to bring our community together for learning, networking and sharing ideas. It’s such a valuable event for our customers, resellers and partners.

Whilst the global situation stopped us from hosting a face to face event, we still wanted to provide an opportunity for DriveWorks users to learn and connect. So this year we reimagined DriveWorks World into an online, digital event.

Digital DriveWorks World was a great success, with over 200 DriveWorks customers, resellers and partners from around the world joining us for a week of learning, networking and sharing ideas all online.

Exporting to More Countries

The Queen’s Awards are highly respected in many countries. Being recognised with the awards strengthened our position in those countries. Since receiving the awards, we’ve added 8 new resellers from around the world, some of them in new countries and markets for us.

As a Queen’s Award for International Trade recipient, our CEO and VP were invited to the Institute of Export & International Trade Gala Dinner. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet Queens Awards winners and network with other UK business leaders. We have now joined the Institute of Export & International Trade to stay connected with other exporters.

Maria Sarkar, VP of DriveWorks has since been appointed Northern Powerhouse Export Champion. This programme focuses on raising awareness of the benefits of exporting, communicating where to go for support, and inspiring more companies to start trading internationally (or to expand their current reach).

We’re also continuing with our commitment to helping more companies to expand their reach with DriveWorks software. Creating an online product configurator with DriveWorks enables companies to use the power of digital to sell to anyone, anywhere, online 24/7.

Our strong international channel helped us to survive the pandemic. Whilst the UK was still in lockdown, with many companies pausing or changing production, other countries were coming back. Like most companies, sales slowed down for us but we are fortunate not to rely on one economy.

Manufacturers all over the world began to realise, more than ever, the importance of digital transformation and are looking to invest in technology like DriveWorks to improve their processes and work smarter.

Working as a Team

We’re a close-knit team and often get together to share knowledge and engage in fun activities.

Since our open day, we’ve celebrated Ruby’s birthday (Ruby is a very special member of our team – a black labrador!), enjoyed our Christmas Party and ate lots of pancakes on pancake day.

At our Christmas party last year, we even used our own software to automate Secret Santa!

We’ve continued to add to our knowledge in many ways, learning together and sharing knowledge. Many of our team have completed courses and received new certifications, including in SOLIDWORKS and the 3D Experience Platform.

Since receiving the Queen’s Awards our team has continued to grow. We’ve welcomed 4 placement students, 1 graduate, and 6 full-time employees, as well as welcoming back previous placement students in new graduate scheme roles.

Eight of those employees joined our team in the middle of the pandemic and whilst they’ve missed out on some usual team activities, they’ve settled into their new roles really well and have still been able to get to know each other and the rest of the team virtually.

We’ve hosted regular virtual team quizzes, continued with our weekly Show & Tell sessions over teams, and kept in touch with each other using technology.

Our entire team have adjusted really well to the change in the way we work over the last 6 months, and it’s a testament to our company attitude of adapting and embracing change.

Supporting Communities

We’re lucky to be involved in many great communities and we’re committed to supporting them in any way we can.

We’re proud sponsors of SOLIDWORKS User Groups (SWUG). We attend and support user group meetings. We host our own annual award for DriveWorks SWUG leader of the year and we’ve received awards from the community too – we were awarded SWUGN Partner of the Year Award two years running and in 2020, Heather from our team received the SWUGN Choice Award for SOLIDWORKS Community Champion of the Year. The SWUGN community have shown their appreciation for our support in many ways, with Chicago SWUG even presenting us with a plaque of appreciation this year.

One of the main reasons we support communities is to build a strong future for STEM.

FIRST速 is a not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young peoples interest and participation in science and technology. First Robotics competition teams have had access to DriveWorksXpress for many years and we’ve supported them with free learning resources. However, this year, we added to our sponsorship and now offer free licenses of DriveWorks Solo, alongside online training and learning resources to help them take automation even further and focus on quality robot design.

We released a brand new DriveWorks Solo Certification, so SWUG members, FIRST Robotics teams, and any other SOLIDWORKS users and students can add an extra certification to their CV. It’s available online so SOLIDWORKS users can get certified from anywhere, at any time.

Closer to home, we’ve been heavily involved in our local Cheshire & Warrington Pledge, supporting education. Before lockdown we hosted two Digital Work Experience Days, inviting local students to spend a day with us and learn about future career opportunities. We’ve also been involved in virutal events throughout the pandemic, to keep students engaged and motivated, and helping them to make the most of their time.

We’ve also contributed towards our local community centre car park and a nearby care home looking to add new technology.

We’re pleased to have been able to continue supporting these communities virtually during the pandemic. We’ve created digital resources and joined in with virtual events.

Attending Events

Autumn last year was busy as usual for our team, as we attended many SOLIDWORKS Reseller Roll-Out Events. Every year we attend as many reseller events as we can. We often present, teach a session and have a booth so delegates can try one of our configurators and see our software in action. In 2019, we visited 14 countries, attending 48 events held by 22 different resellers.

In February, we then headed off to the states for 3D Experience World 2020. This was our team’s 20th year at the event. Our team showcased our software on our busy booth, presented about DriveWorks and taught sessions, helping SOLIDWORKS users gain a DriveWorksXpress Certification. We also heard from inspiring keynote speakers and joined in with community activities.

Many events are different at the moment but technology is bringing communities together, giving us all the chance to stay connected. We made our own annual event virtual this year, Digital DriveWorks World, and we’ve had the opportunity to get involved in many other virtual events, staying connected with the community and providing more opportunities to learn.

Of course we’re still proudly flying our Queen’s Award flag at DriveWorks HQ.

IMA PG is a leading pioneer in packaging solutions in India. Operating in the pharmaceutical industry, theyve been designing and manufacturing machinery for various pharmaceutical products and tablets since 1961. IMA PG work closely with DriveWorks Value Added Reseller Pelf Infotech Private Limited, based in Pune.

Design to Manufacture Process Before DriveWorks

Before DriveWorks, IMAs design to manufacture process required an engineer to design every part component by changing each dimension manually. They also had to give annotations and dimensions for every view in a drawing sheet. With so much manual input, the risk of costly human error in the design process was high.

DriveWorks is currently used by the engineering team internally and has been implemented in the design process of almost every product range at the company.

Implementing DriveWorks

Introducing DriveWorks has revolutionised the way IMA design their products. They have now configured DriveWorks for layout and component designing.

This means an engineer can now input the requirements for each individual specification into their form.

Once the form is completed, the new model along with its manufacturing data is automatically generated and ready to be sent to the manufacturing floor.

Speeding up the Design Process

Using DriveWorks Automation, IMA can respond to sales enquiries much faster, reducing their lead time significantly, opening up even more sales opportunities.

Cavity Die is a part of the design process that has benefitted particularly from DriveWorks. The Cavities are changed depending on each individual specification, for example they might be round, or an oblong shape.

This process is now specified and controlled through DriveWorks Automation, and the plate size is driven through variable parameters.

The outputs generated by DriveWorks are also now created from the Master Model.

Benefits for IMA PG

Since installing DriveWorks, IMA PG have seen a significant time reduction in their design process.

Before DriveWorks, design time peaked at four days and this has now been reduced to just one day. Costly manufacturing errors have also reduced significantly, and IMA PG are now at 80% drawing accuracy across their product line.

Mr Mayur Patil, Manager at IMA PG says:

DriveWorks has played a crucial role in our day to day work, helping us to achieve two important goals; time saving and accuracy.

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Available to anyone with SOLIDWORKS.

Adapting to the Changes of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a hot topic throughout many industries.

There is a real buzz around the introduction of digitalisation and how it can help companies be agile, efficient and resilient.

All essential features when moving forward from the global pandemic.

As a result of COVID-19, we have seen a glimpse into a future world where digital is a key part of every interaction.

Moving into this new era we have seen that digital transformation is no longer just a nice to have for those in the manufacturing industry wanting to drive productivity and increase efficiency.

With the world changing at an unprecedented speed, we have seen tangible transformation taking place with technology at its centre.

Responding to the Global Pandemic

Although it may not seem like it – digital transformation is nothing new.

Pre COVID-19 lots of companies were seeing the many benefits of going digital.

COVID-19 has dramatically sped up digital transformation, and not just in the manufacturing industry.

For those who were already embracing digital we have seen that the pandemic has accelerated their digital journey and they are already reaping the benefits.

As we moved further into the pandemic, it seemed a gap was forming between those that had introduced and invested in digital and those that had not.

Businesses who had not embraced digital found themselves less prepared to adapt to the sudden changes the crisis brought and therefore exposed to greater weaknesses.

Companies are now responding to the pandemic and are seeing the importance of being able to pivot quickly, to control processes remotely and have the ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

Businesses are looking for ways to move on from COVID-19 and come out of this stronger.

Digitalisation will be key to enabling industries to meet changing customers needs and adjust to changing markets as we move forward.

Adjusting to the New Way of Working

The global pandemic has changed the way we work.

Forcing customers, employees, and supply chains into digital channels and new ways of working.

As the UK and many other countries entered lockdown, our daily routine of commuting and working from the office was rapidly shifted and we found ourselves adjusting to working remotely.

Some companies were forced to put projects on hold and uncertainty for the future was on their minds.

However fast forward to now, its clear that for numerous organisations who had already begun to adopt digital techniques, working remotely has not only been achievable but actually a huge success.

Through the pandemic, we have learnt that remote workforces, automation, transparent flexible supply chains and data security are all key elements to digital transformation not just in manufacturing – but across all sectors.

We are seeing that organisations who embrace new ways of working are improving competitiveness and productivity through the better use of technology and digital skills.

Driving Agility

Whilst agility has always been a key driver of successful business operations, now more than ever we are seeing the importance of businesses being able to pivot and respond quickly to changing factors.

Markets and trends are constantly moving and evolving. It is important that businesses can adapt to these changes quickly and effectively, otherwise they are at risk of falling behind.

Coronavirus is the perfect example of how rapid these changes can happen. No one could have foreseen the damage it has done to the economy.

For some, the lack of agility and the ability to respond has sadly meant their business won’t recover from this hard time.

However, for others, the pandemic has been an opportunity to shine.

We have seen an incredible response from manufacturers, businesses and individuals who have acted quickly. Switching and upscaling production from their usual business todesigning, producing and delivering the urgently needed equipmentto meet the growing demand.

Moving forward, digitalisation will be key to enabling industries to meet changing customers needs as we move forward.

Businesses without a strong digital strategy are likely to struggle to be as agile as their competitors making them slow to adapt to rapid changes in the market.

Increasing Efficiency

We have seen that businesses who already had digital transformation plans in place accelerated their plans throughout the pandemic, while many with no digital transformation plans saw the need to develop some in order to keep up with others.

Through the implementation of new technologies, business processes are becoming more efficient.

The idea of digital transformation is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service in a digital format, but to use new technologies to transform that process into something significantly better.

Businesses implementing a digital-first approach to processes, operations, and customer engagement are achieving a more streamlined and efficient way of working.

Take automation, for example, a necessary step towards digital transformation.

Automated processes are a key driver of productivity – resulting in flexible, transparent, and stable supply chains.

Through automation, systems, workflows and processes can all be enhanced to become faster, more efficient and much more valuable to the organisation.

Sustainability in the Future

As companies begin to explore new technologies, they are looking for investments that not only allow the business to be flexible and agile right now but continue to be in the future.

Business are looking for solutions that will continue to grow and develop alongside the businesses needs and overall strategy as it evolves in the future.

The world will continue to change, and as we enter the ‘new normal’ it is important that businesses consider longer-term strategies and re-prioritise digital plans to reflect the evolving markets.

Changes are happening for the better

More and more businesses are looking for ways that can move on from COVID-19 and come out of this stronger.

Throughout the pandemic, people have relied more on technology than ever before, whether it being internet access, video calling, mobile phone apps or video streaming sites such as Netflix and Disney+.

Consumers are adjusting to this new tech-dependent world where technology and devices are establishing themselves in our daily lives.

As that happens, performance and user experience will become crucial to meeting consumers’ expectations and driving brand growth.

Digitalisation will be key to enabling industries to meet changing customers needs and expectations, allowing businesses to rapidly adjust to evolving markets as we move forward.

Those who dont and continue to look at it as business as usual will fall behind.

Embracing Digital Transformation with DriveWorks

Throughout the pandemic, weve been hearing from our customers who have been embracing change and thriving as a result.

Whether theyre changing their manufacturing to provide much-needed supplies, working on new product ideas, or using this time to improve and work on projects they dont usually have time for,many of our customers are focusing on moving forward and working smarter.

Implementing an online configurator with DriveWorks can help you to stay ahead of the competition, reduce costs, and win more business.

Our productconfigurator examplesare a great way tosee whats possible with DriveWorks.

Head to driveworkslive.com to learn how versatile and customizable DriveWorks is and get some inspiration for your own products.

Try DriveWorks Powerful Design Automation For Free

Take a look at how you can get started on your Digital Transformation journey with DriveWorks for free.

Activate DriveWorksXpress

Start automating with DriveWorksXpress free inside every seat of SOLIDWORKS.

Trial DriveWorks Solo

Try out DriveWorks Solo for free with the DriveWorks Solo 30 Day Free Trial.

Read Glen’s Embracing Digital Feature in May/June’s DEVELOP3D Magazine

In this month’s DEVELOP 3D magazine, DriveWorks CEO Glen Smith, talks about how adapting and embracing opportunities is vital.

This is the second in a series of articles by Glen that will be featured every month in the DEVELOP3D magazine.

In the May/June edition of DEVELOP3D, Glen talks about the importance of change and embracing digital.

Glen explains how change is not the enemy, and adapting and embracing opportunities is vital for businesses to succeed. Innovation, using technology and streamlining business processes can and will make a difference post-Covid-19 era.

As CEO of a software company, I like to think of my team as champions for change. Weve embraced digital transformation. Almost everything we do is now digital.

Time and time again we see how companies that embrace digital can overtake their competitors and change the future for consumers.”

“The key to digital transformation is starting small, choosing one thing to improve, changing it, reaping the benefits and moving onto the next thing.”

DEVELOP3D Magazine is free to read online, read the full article on page 15.

Business With a Boost

The DriveWorks team have now all been working from home for 8 weeks.

Our investments in technology and our commitment to digital transformation means we are well set up for working remotely. Our transition to home working has been smooth and we have remained open and operational throughout.

All our teams have continued to work and support you as usual via email, by phone and web meeting where appropriate.

When we first made the move to home working, we reassured you that were here as normal for anything you need. We promised it would be business as usual.

As we’ve settled into this new way of working, it hasn’t actually been business as usual. If anything, it’s been business with a boost!

Our team have really embraced this time as an opportunity to improve, create and innovate.

Digital Transformation is More Important Than Ever

The manufacturers, communities and individuals who have pulled together to make us all stronger during this pandemic have proved that being agile and open to change is vital.

Its become clearer than ever that companies who adapt, embrace change and move quickly are more likely to thrive.

There are so many great examples of companies who have adapted what they do like those who previously supplied pubs and bars with beer, and as demand declined, they adapted and made hand sanitiser instead. Not only have they provided the country with much-needed supplies and made a difference, but they are also keeping themselves afloat and keeping their staff employed.

At DriveWorks, we are champions for change.

Weve embraced digital transformation and almost everything we do is now digital. We use our own DriveWorks software to manage our data, create licenses for our customers and manage purchase orders, book annual leave, submit expenses and even to order fish and chips on a Friday – when we’re in the office of course.

Our digital processes and investments in technology have made transitioning to home working much smoother.

During this pandemic, in work and in our personal lives, everyone across the world has been using technology more. Whether its doing an online food shop, a weekly team meeting, or a virtual pub quiz with family and friends, now more than ever, technology connects the world.

Digital transformation is essential businesses need to embrace digital now, to be stronger tomorrow.

When the world moves on from Covid-19, companies will need to get back to business. Many are more likely to want to work smarter to rebuild the financial losses they have sustained. Automation, selling online and streamlining business processes are 3 areas that can and will make a difference.

Our Customers Are Innovating

We’ve been hearing from our customers who are also using this time to improve and work on projects they don’t usually have time for.

They’re making time for developing their DriveWorks projects, adding features and functionality to help them move forward and continue to work smarter.

Major Software Version Released

We went into lockdown at a critical stage of our software release process – testing! Every release of DriveWorks is tested rigorously across Windows Operating Systems and latest versions of SOLIDWORKS to test compatibility.

As a SOLIDWORKS Gold Partner and a Microsoft Technology Partner, it’s vital our software meets the required standards.

But it’s more than that, our customers – and their teams and customers – rely on our software daily. We are committed to producing software that is robust, obvious and innovative. This is more important than ever during already difficult times.

Our testing doesn’t stop when the software is released. We use DriveWorks software to automate the testing. Every time our automated testing runs, it runs over 16,000 tests on SOLIDWORKS models plus over 3.400 non-SOLIDWORKS tests, across all versions of SOLIDWORKS, including alphas, betas and early visibilities, as well as each service pack. Since the release of DriveWorks 18, we have automatically generated 14,374 models, parts and drawings as part of our testing.

We’re proud that we’ve released a major software version, rigorously tested (and used by us!) during a global pandemic whilst our team are working remotely.

We’ve also updated all of our PowerPacks, releasing new versions for DriveWorks 18. These PowerPacks add additional niche functionality to help our customers automate even more and fully embrace digital transformation.

As always we’ve released a full online help file for DriveWorks 18 and provided training resources and hands-on classes as part of DriveWorks World 2020.

DriveWorks World

Whilst the current global situation stopped us from hosting a face to face event, we still wanted to provide an opportunity for DriveWorks users to learn and connect. So this year we made DriveWorks World a digital event.

We were joined by over 200 DriveWorks customers, resellers and partners for a week of learning, networking and sharing ideas all online.

The technical sessions we run at DriveWorks World are extremely valuable and are part of our commitment to Helping You to Help Yourself. We wanted to make sure we could still deliver the training content that our technical team had worked hard to create.

During the event, we revealed Whats New in DriveWorks 18 and presented digital training, hands-on learning and advanced sessions all through live webinars and downloadable content.

Using technology, we created an event that was completely online. The sessions are now available to download for anyone who missed them, or for anyone who needs a recap.

Inspiring the Future

The local education community in Warrington have been really embracing digital. The Cheshire & Warrington Pledge have been running online workshops and events for students and young people in the area.

We are proud to have been involved in these events – educating young people about how to be productive during this time and using it as an opportunity to add value for their future careers.

Our team have invested our time and resources into helping the future and inspiring students.

Part of the Community

Throughout the year, we’re heavily involved in the SOLIDWORKS User Group community. We love being a part of the SOLIDWORKS Community and we were so disappointed when all in-person user group meetings were postponed.

However, as usual the SWUGN community came through. SOLIDWORKS worked with user groups across the world to ensure that we can all stay connected and continue to share exciting and innovative content.

SOLIDWORKS set up a series of SWUGN Virtual Events covering a range of topics.

User Group leaders themselves have also been running their usual groups digitally.

The Northern Ireland SolidWorks User Group (NISWUG) is a brand new group that launched their group during the midst of all this and had great success in their first-ever meeting.

Internal Training

Whilst working from home we have continued to run our weekly show & tells.

Every Friday at 2pm, someone from the DriveWorks shares an interesting topic with the rest of the team. It might be a round-up of a project they have been working on, an introduction to a new project they have coming up or anything else that’s good to share with each other.

We have made more time for learning and sharing knowledge. Our team have been training each other and talking about new topics and new ideas.

We’ve even been watching the DriveWorks World sessions together, discussing them and learning from each other’s presentations.

New Team Members

Just before we entered lockdown, we welcomed Gary as Development Team Manager. Gary had a couple of weeks working in the office with us but we’ve all been working from home since. Gary has still managed to get to know the team through online chats but he is looking forward to getting back to the office and using his DriveWorks mug!

We also have 4 new team members joining us in June. We’re looking forward to welcoming them too, even if it is from afar.

Adding to our team’s knowledge and expertise with new people and new skills means we can be really productive during this time and continue to improve and innovate.

Keeping In Touch

We’re a close-knit team so the strangest part of all of this is not being in the office together. It’s been an adjustment for us all but we’ve been using technology to stay in touch.

We’re looking forward to being back in the office and able to play pool and games together at lunchtime again.

But for now, we’re settling into this new way of working and we’re keeping in touch with each other and with you guys as much as we can.

And of course, our home office pets are keeping us company too!

Many businesses have already started investing in their digital transformation journey.

According to the 2019 Automation Survey, 73% of respondents have already deployed technology to automate their business tasks and processes, with another 20% planning to deploy automation technology within the next 12 to 18 months.

The survey found Workflow Automation Software, Business Process Management Software and Robotic Process Automation are the top types of automation being introduced.

Business Process Automation

Through automation, complex business processes are being made smarter.

Business Process Automation (BPA) is enabling businesses to become more streamlined, using information and data to manage routine processes and reduce costs, increase productivity and improve efficiency.

By using technology to automate key business processes, organisations aredriving a positive change and already being rewarded.

Advances in artificial intelligence, software robotics, machine learning, and innovative technology platforms enable businesses to redefine processes, with automation expected to provide a significantopportunity for improvements in performance and efficiency in the workplace.

Using DriveWorks for Business Process Automation

Digital manufacturing requires data to flow through a business. DriveWorks is an important part of that process.

Using DriveWorks software, companies can quickly and easily display configured products online, in 3D, and generate accurate quotes and sales documentation.

What is particularly innovative about our software is that it also automates the creation of all the downstream manufacturing drawings and production data too. Production can begin as soon as an order is placed, and customers then benefit from shorter lead times.

BKWInstruments Ltd

DriveWorks customer BKW Instrumentshave successfully integratedDriveWorks software in to their business proccesses and are already seeing the benefits.

Using DriveWorks as a web-based platform allows BKW to interact with their SYSPRO ERP system securely from any device, anywhere in the UK. The application they developed with DriveWorks software enables them to organise and speed up everyday business processes and tasks.

bkw

Our DriveWorks system greatly benefits our customers as it enables our internal sales team to log enquiries and produce quotes quickly and efficiently. This leads to a faster order turnaround and a quicker delivery of products, whilst providing exceptional customer service and maintaining our professional appearance.

Adam Baker, Operations and IT Manager at BKW Instruments, presenting at DriveWorks World 2018.

Industrial Magnetics

Industrial Magnetics is an industry leader in permanent magnets and electromagnets for work holding, lifting, fixturing, conveying and magnetic separation.

Already usingSOLIDWORKS 3D CADsoftware, IMI wanted to take an integrated approach to improve operations, with tools to accelerate product development, reduce the cost of custom designs and orders, enhance product quality and provide fast responses to customer requests.

With DriveWorks at the core, the company has integrated its CRM and ERP system, creating a centralized platformto support day-to-day operations.

As a result of the integration of DriveWorks and SOLIDWORKS with the companys ERP system, IMI cut the task of creating a Bill of Materials down to a single click from within SOLIDWORKS.

A step that used to take up to four minutes and was conducted by all eight engineers multiple times per day is now auotmated and requires no manual intervention.

Everyone in the process stream customers, sales, engineering and manufacturing can now see the same information. DriveWorks serves as the interface to all our business systems, tools, models, terminology and users.

– David Dewey, Engineer with Industrial Magnetics.

This is the fifth blog in our new digital transformation series. Each week we will be sharing our insights about the importance of embracing digital transformation and automation. Keep reading to learn more!

Our Digital Transformation Blog Series

Markets are changing, and customers are expecting more from the products and services they are buying. Consumers want products faster, cheaper and easier than ever before, without compromising on quality.

This is presenting a challenge for many buisnesses.

To meet demand, manufacturers are looking toautomation.

Design Automation

Design automation is enabling businesses to turn around proposals quickly,design and manufacture efficientlyand deliver on promises consistently, all whilst maintaininga healthy profit.

By automating time-sensitive and often repetitive activities, businesses can focus on innovation and adding value to their products, improving throughput and quality to meet customers requirements.

Becoming smarter, agile and much more flexiblemeans manufacturers are able to achieve increased productivity and stay competitive.

Mass Customisation

According to Digitalist Magazine, “manufacturing is transforming from mass production to an industry characterized by mass customisation”.

Customer expectations are growing, and the demand for personalisation and customization is rising. Unlike the second industrial revolution, customers dont want mass produced identical goods. They want value-adding customised products.

Gartner emphasizes that the goal of digitalisation is to create and deliver new value to customers, not just to improve what is already being done or offered. To adapt to this, enterprises and manufacturers are changing strategies, embracing new technologies and going digital.

By offering customers exactly what they want, businesses are increasing demand for their products and increasing revenue.

Automation in Manufacturing

The Annual Manufacturing Report 2019 suggests that digital technologies are driving modern manufacturing machinery, allowing for mass customisation. Modern customisation is bringing change, allowing even small companies to serve a wide variety of customer demands on the production line.

Offering customized products and services is a great competitive differentiator, leading to more sales, higher revenues, and happy customers.

However, manufacturers offering custom products are often putting their engineers under pressure.Theyre squeezed to create proposal documents and drawings as fast as possible. This leads to best guess costings, for orders that arent guaranteed.

 

Engineering departments are wasted on tasks that could be automated.They have less time to update drawings and carefully check every detail. Jobs are then leftopen to errors, rework, backlogs and delays. All of this can affect profit margins and damage reputation.

Benefits of Automation

With DriveWorks, many manufacturers are already seeing the benefits of design automation.

Automation is freeing up engineers, giving them more time to focus onimproving product quality and developing new products.

Sales teams are becoming more proficient meaning customer inquiries are being dealt with faster and throughput is increasing.

Automation is leading tomore orders, reduced operational overheads, and better customer service one step at a time.

Activate to Automate

Ideal for configuring designs that are theSame but Different, DriveWorksXpressprovides entry-level Design Automationinside world-leading, 3D CAD design software,SOLIDWORKS.

Use it to create multiple variations of SOLIDWORKS Parts, Assemblies and Drawings quickly and accurately.

Save time, reduce repetitive tasks and minimise costly errors.

DriveWorksXpress is the time-saving Design Automation tool includedfree inside every licence of SOLIDWORKS, all you need to do is activate it.

This is the fourth blog in our new digital transformation series. Each week we will be sharing our insights about the importance of embracing digital transformation and automation. Keep reading to learn more!

Our Digital Transformation Blog Series

With Digital Transformation businesses areworking smarter. Technology, software and automation are allowing companies tofocus on future opportunities and innovation.

Technology is increasingefficiency,improvingaccuracy,streamliningbusiness to consumer relations,boostingspeed, and allowing for a wider range of products.

Digitalisation doesn’t always look the same. It can be different depending on industry and organisation.

For some, the aim may be to simply automate lengthy manual processes. Jobs that previously took hours, days or even weeks to accomplish can now be achieved within minutes.

While for others, the goal is to create a smart factory. Transformingentire factories so they becomedigital and connected, with machines that can improve processes through automation and self-optimization.

Applying Digital Transformation

A-LINE

The European Software and Services Initiative, NESSI report that Industry 4.0 will rely on technologies to develop intelligent cooperative systems with increased data sharing and analytics capabilities.

Using DriveWorks software enabled A-LINE to create up to 200 designs per day, giving them a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The system they’ve built in DriveWorks provides an easy to use homepage for their sales team, which provides instant quotes and drawings for the customer.

It also has a quote management area to help the sales team manage their quotes in one place, quickly and easily.

By replacing a time consuming manual quoting processs with automation, A-Line saved time, saved money and reduced errors, without compromising on quality or professionalism.

With the introduction of software, the way manufacturing businesses operate is changing for the better. Software is freeing up time and resources allowing manufacturers to continue innovating and moving forward.

Both Rademaker and Shotton Group have seen great time savings with the use of implementing software into their business processes.

Rademaker

Rademaker, a company providing solutions for the food processing industry found that with the use of DriveWorks, they reduced engineering time to less than 15 minutes.

With a new Zero Effort Engineering process, the engineer only needs to fill in the specifications of a machine and the 3D models, drawings and bill of materials are automatically generated.

This reduction in engineering time not only helped to achieve targets but also increased flexibility, variants, functionality and the number of options they can handle.

Shotton Group

Through the introduction of software and automation, the Shotton Group cut the process of creating product sales documentation from half a day down to 30 minutes.

 

Engineers’ time previously spent on repetitive tasks can now be used on more valuable tasks such as R&D.

For the Shotton Group, the integration of software has saved them time, improved customer satisfaction and taken them a step close to achieving objectives.

 

F.H.Brundle

DriveWorks customer, F.H.Brundle are a wholesaler of steel products, stocking over 8,500 products. As they are adding new products all the time, it was important for them to find a solution that could be set up and managed by themselves.

Using DriveWorks, F.H.Brundle created their own online configurator for internal teams, distributors and customers.

Since the introduction of software, F.H.Brundle’s businesses processes now allow customers to configure systems to their own dimensions, creating accurate quotes and detailed drawings in minutes. Saving their customers hours of work and helping to eliminate mistakes.

The Entrepreneur Europe agrees that done right, a digital shift can lead to increased savings, happier customers and better prospects in both the short and long term.

Read more about how DriveWorks software has helped our customers to adopt and benefit from digital transformation

A-Line

Using DriveWorks enabled us to create up to 200 designs per day

– Craig Barker, Director, A-LINE

Rademaker

Order-engineering has gonefrom 2 hours to 15 minutes.

– Rob Beffers, Manager Integrated Process Control, Rademaker BV

F.H.Brundle

Customers can get a quote anytime they want it, 24/7/365.

– Richard Twiddy, Design Office Manager, F.H.Brundle

Shotton Group

We’ve reduced the amount of time taken to complete forms from half a day to only 30 minutes.

– Martin Clenick, Engineering Manager, Shotton Group

Laing O’Rourke

DriveWorks has allowed us to automate the routine processes that we undertake day in and day out.

– Dr Scott McGovern, Digital Engineering Lead, Laing O’Rourke

BKW

We now have more time to focus on our workflow and business analytics

– Adam Baker, Operations and IT Manager, BKW Instruments

This is the third blog in our new digital transformation series. Each week we will be sharing our insights about the importance of embracing digital transformation and automation. Keep reading to learn more!

Our Digital Transformation Blog Series

In our blog,How Digital Transformation is Changing the Manufacturing Industry, we explored emerging trends in digital transformation and industry 4.0, looking at how the manufacturing industry is being transformed by a revolution of smart factories, automation and big data.

Powering this digital transformation is the development and integration of software.

Going Digital

Going digital is all about streamlining business processes, driving productivity and innovating one step at a time. Entrepreneur Europe reports that the point of digital transformation is not to take companies from paper processes to hyper-advanced and complex digitalized alternatives. Instead, many components of digital transformation are subtle and take time.

A lot of businesses fear the changes digital transformation brings because they think it means updating entire infrastructure with new systems, new technology and new processes, however, digital transformation isnt just about transforming factory floors with robots and automation.

Alongside these devices, software is developing too, supporting the introduction of smart, tech-driven solutions and playing a key role in transforming industries.

Influencing Industries

A great example of the impact software can have is how Laing O’Rourke have digitally transformed the bridge industry.

Software enhances, expands, and restructures the way organisations work, influencing industries and having a huge impact on digital transformation throughout manufacturing.

Laing O’Rourke collaborated with Tony Gee and Cambridge University to develop a unified digital delivery process for the entire bridge industry.

The research group have introduced standards to simplify a complex process. The outcome is a set of best practices for manufacturing, assembly and design, to ensure consistent data formats and reduce manual processes required between stages.

 

Using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and DriveWorks Design Automation and Configurator software, Laing ORourke have built tools to digitise bridge design.

This project has dramatically reduced the time taken to reach the final design, construct and complete a bridge and has transformed the entire bridge industry through the use of software.

The time savings could see bridge designs produced in days or weeks instead of months and years. Rolling out the project will increase efficiency and capacity across the entire industry.

Integrated Processes

In order to be successful, software needs to work in harmony with each other and with current business processes.

To streamline processes, more and more companies are using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage integrated applications.

ERP connects core business processes and improves efficiency of production, as well as the operation of the entire business.

BKW Instruments, a company who provide equipment and instruments to various industries in the UK, developed a web-based platform that allows their company to interact with the SYSPRO ERP system securely from any device, anywhere in the UK.

The application BKW developed was created in DriveWorks and enables them to organise and speed up everyday business processes and tasks.

Logging and processing sales enquiries has gone from 3 hours to 30 minutes and their internal sales team are creating quotes twice as fast as before, resulting in a 100% increase in productivity!

Their customers are benefitting from quicker turnarounds and better service too.

BKW has successfully met all their business objectives, resulting in significant time savings, increased productivity and better customer experiences.

Digital transformation is changing the way companies work across all departments. Digital transformationprovides a perfect opportunity for businesses to replace traditional ways of doing business with other sophisticated digital technologies toembrace the new digital world.

The role of software in the manufacturing industry is only going to continueto grow. By embracing new technologies and software, businesses can increase efficiency, improve accuracy, streamline business to consumer relations, boost speed, and allow for a wider range of products.

This is the second blog in our new digital transformation series. Each week we will be sharing our insights about the importance of embracing digital transformation and automation. Keep reading to learn more!

Our Digital Transformation Blog Series

Digital Transformation

The term Digital Transformation has attracted a lot of attention across the manufacturing industry and throughout the media recently. Defined by The Enterprisers Project, Digital Transformation is “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers.”

With digitalisation comes the rise of trends such as Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing and smart factories. Industry 4.0 refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the next step where manufacturing moves away from a physical world and towards a digital one.

The industry has been continually evolving since the first Industrial Revolution in the 1700s. Past industrial revolutions have shown what can be achieved when an industry is transformed.

This fourth industrial revolution is all about focusing on connectivity and communication.

A future where the production process is being completely restructured to be streamlined and agile.

In this fourth revolution, devices are connected, they can communicate, and they can make smart decisions. Data and analysis is key to making informed decisions and improving efficiencies.

This revolution is all about digital.

Transforming the Industry

Digital Transformation is a combination of traditional manufacturing processes enhanced with new advancing technologies, working together to drive manufacturing forward and address inefficiencies in the current sector.

Technology and software will have a huge role to play, integrating into all areas of the business transforming traditional processes to change how a business operates and deliver more value to customers.

Driven by technology, Industry 4.0 will transform production and reshape businesses, creating greater efficiency and better relationships between producers, suppliers and customers.

Global Data’s Disruptor Tech Database reveals that big data and analytics and additive manufacturing (3D printing) are amongst the technologies considered crucial in transforming industrial manufacturing.

Smart Manufacturing

Powered by data and automation, digital transformation is transforming every step of the manufacturing process, from supply chain and enterprise to the shop floor and end users.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology describe Industry 4.0 as creating “fully integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network and in customer needs.”

Smart manufacturing is connecting factories digitally, with central networks linking with machines, not only to automate but to learn processes independently, adapt to change, generate orders, understand quality issues and even assign tasks to other machines.

Deloitte Insights describes the smart factory as a leap forward from more traditional automation to a fully connected flexible system.

Connecting data, people and systems is key to smart manufacturing, making information available when and where it is needed, across the entire manufacturing process.

Manufacturing Tomorrow agrees that “by using sensors, robotics and a central collection of data, smart factories enable all information about the manufacturing process to be available across entire manufacturing supply chains and product lifecycles.

What Does This Mean For Manufacturers?

Smart manufacturing, mass customization, automation and lean manufacturing are disrupting the industry.

By adopting and implementing smart technologies, manufacturers are able to increase productivity, improve inefficiencies and create sustainability.

Smart manufacturing is all about increasing throughput, uptime and performance while reducing overhead costs, operating costs and capital costs.

Moving Forward

At DriveWorks, we recognise that smart manufacturing is the future that is changing the way manufacturers work.

Aerospace Defence Security describe the many benefits of a fourth industrial revolution as boosting productivity, increasing efficiency, improving quality and reducing waste across the entire value chain.

With the introduction of smart manufacturing and smart factories comes the importance of good data. Information is an asset to all businesses and is now powering digital transformation by enabling real-time, learning-based decision-making across all business operations, including product development, manufacturing, supply chain, and customer experience.

Manufacturers need to take inspiration from past industrial revolutions, embrace the change or risk being left behind and overtaken by competitors.

Change is scalable, with a few small changes manufacturers can improve their data, make better connections between systems and teams and make their business more digital, resulting in better customer experience.

As Industry 4.0 continues to evolve, there are many programmes and initiatives to help manufacturers and engineers to explore the opportunities and benefits of digitalisation and embrace Industry 4.0.

This is the first blog in our new digital transformation series. Each week we will be sharing our insights about the importance of embracing digital transformation and automation. Keep reading to learn more!

Our Digital Transformation Blog Series

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