Like other sectors of the economy, the mechanical engineering industry is changing. The aim is to arm yourself against economic crises and recession. Digitization and technical innovations are the keys to success. Alongside Industry 4.0 or cloud-on-demand engineering, both are among the most important buzzwords of our time. They offer advantages for mechanical engineering.
Cloudification, in particular, brings with it increases in performance and productivity because it facilitates high-performance computing processes, reduces costs and makes processes highly adaptable. This development is closely linked to general digitization, progressing just as quickly. Companies are digitising more and more functions along their value chain. This also expands the product portfolio: new innovative services based on data are offered.
Sales Potential Can Be Better Exploited
Industry 4.0 means that companies have to process much more data than before. They integrate them from external sources that result from newly created cooperation models. Ultimately, this allows them to make better use of their sales potential. However, this can only work if the focus is on the entire value chain and the cooperation between different companies and partners. Strategic alliances and cross-functional tools are now essential for this. Conclusion This close cooperation leads to success and creates new jobs because additional services and technologies become necessary. On the other hand, networked software solutions must be designed to take this development into account.
Digitization: Cloud-On-Demand Engineering On The Rise
Cloud-on-demand engineering occupies a pivotal position here. This refers to cloud-based mechanical engineering services such as CAD or CAE software (CAD = Computer-Aided Design, CAE = Computer-Aided Engineering). Such software solutions have mostly been installed locally – this switch to cloud-based tools is revolutionising engineering offices.
Once again, data is essential. Because they hold the various components together. The entire industry 4.0 relies almost exclusively on data. Because collecting, processing and analysing information is significant for mechanical engineering. Companies can use this data and its analysis to optimise their processes. And: The data is collected across the entire value chain – so market opportunities can be identified more quickly. But all of this is only possible if data can be transmitted globally and in real-time. This is the only way companies can generate, process and draw conclusions from large amounts of data without problems.
Speed is required to process such large amounts of data in a meaningful way. In addition, data security is an important issue. Special protection programs and the proper hardware are therefore mandatory. In general, enormous IT resources are now required to guarantee all of this.
Digitization Opens Up Previously Unimagined Possibilities
The result: Efficiency increases, and many new opportunities arise. But the work setting itself is also changing due to digitization and networking. Machines and robots are already communicating with each other today – in an automated and data-based manner. Humans are then deployed to analyse and manipulate the data.
The Problem Of Capacity Utilisation – Example Of The Packaging Industry
Some challenges can now be solved thanks to current developments, as illustrated by the following example from the packaging industry: many dairies fill their products themselves. The packaging industry has developed machines that work with the same packaging everywhere in fast-moving consumer goods such as yoghurt pots. These differ only in the imprint. In most dairies, the packaging machines are not working at total capacity. Because the quantity produced depends on other factors, such as sales or the number of raw materials supplied.
The consequence: the dairies cannot optimally use these systems with their production, and costs often arise. Bottlenecks can occur in other diaries because the quantity produced is too large for their packaging system. If these companies then reduce the production volume, they also incur costs. They cannot fully exploit their sales potential.
Digital platforms with an intelligent and networked packaging system can help here. Milk producers can thus market their unused capacities and offer them to other dairies. This is already possible today via digital trading platforms. Therefore, appropriately equipped and networked machines contribute to companies’ ability to use their capacities better and exploit their sales potential through digitization.