Chicago, Illinois - We are seeing the beginnings of the 4th Industrial revolution. As networking and connectivity begin to dominate the landscape we will see the advent of the “Smart Factory.” The exchange of information between humans, machines and objects will grow at such an exponential rate that products will be able to manage their own machining processes. With IPv6 succeeding the IPv4 standard, there will be around 340 sextillion IP addresses available for each “thing” to get its own IP address.
Industry experts estimate that by the year 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected - with only 7 billion of them being PCs, Smartphones and tablets. More than 40% of all data transmitted will be sent from “device to device” in 2020. This degree of networking creates a huge opportunity in manufacturing to build “Smart Factories.” Those who are already using these features are seeing improvements in quality, flexibility and productivity. This also provides threats to incumbent manufacturers for new entrants into the manufacturing sector and the possibility for disruptive technologies.
The way to an autonomous product will go through several phases. First phase is monitoring, the second is control, third will be optimization and finally autonomy. Walter Tools sees the future of manufacturing belonging to digital applications in the value chain which contains typical process steps like process design, procurement, stock management, presetting, machining and reconditioning. Our first-hand experience is with iCut, Walter Tool·ID, an application platform and the building of a Smart Factory development center in Germany that will be activated in 2016.
Just like the advent of automation and CNC controls brought about mass changes in manufacturing, networking and connectivity will advance manufacturing to the truly digital age. The future manufacturer will see cutting tools become intelligent devices, machines delivering real time data and device control through apps and having devices being able to control each other.
About the speaker
Florian Böpple is co-responsible for digital manufacturing within the Walter AG since 2014. Mr. Böpple is a former project engineer who is now optimizing customer shopfloors and processes with digital solutions.
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