In a series of articles, we are taking a look back at the industrial revolutions of the past to glean lessons from history as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace. Part one released in December introduced the series and in this article, we now look towards the first revolution.
Handmade to Machine-based Manufacturing
The First Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the late 1700s. It was a period of disruptive economic, technological, social and cultural change, and spread quickly to Europe, the USA and beyond during the first half of the next century.
To say that the world was transformed would be an understatement. The changes in manufacturing, shifting from hand-crafting goods to the use of machines was accompanied by many fundamental new manufacturing techniques and a flourishing of infrastructure and trade. Read more.
Laser trackers are the obvious choice for large scale inspections that require high accuracy. They are an established, trusted tool for the measurement of components and assemblies that are too big to fit under a CMM. However, laser trackers are often under-utilised within organisations and could be used more effectively, in more applications. In some cases, your laser tracker could allow you to save money and add value to your processes. Read more.
In the UK, manufacturing is a thriving industry that directly employs 2.6 million people and sectors such as the aerospace industry generate annual revenue in excess of £30 billion, providing excellent careers for well over 100,000 people. Our position as a major world player is founded on a highly-skilled workforce, institutional knowledge and a history of technological advances. Retaining this strong global reputation is essential to economic wellbeing but also continued growth.
However, the world is changing fast. New advances in automation are transforming traditional processes, with industrial robots replacing people in more and more industries. We need to question whether a skilled workforce will be needed in the future. If robots will be making autonomous decisions driven by “big-data”, we can imagine a future with no requirement for human intervention in the manufacturing process, and therefore no need to maintain a strong skills base.
This logic is flawed, of course. It is only through a deep human understanding of manufacturing processes that a shift towards automation is possible at all. The companies and industries that invest in skills and training will be the ones that make the fastest advances in automation. Read more.
Richard Kingston is and INSPHERO who joined early last year. Here’s a little interview to help you get to know him a little better.
What do you do at INSPHERE?
My job title is Principal Automation Engineer. I have a long history of working with industrial robots and metrology systems, especially when the two are used together. At INSPHERE I do a good variety of work. I spend around half my time working on internal research projects. I also spend one day per week working from Factory 2050 at the AMRC in Sheffield. Read more…
Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has been discussed a great deal in 2018. At INSPHERE we feel that Industry 4.0 will indeed live up to the current hype, and that metrology data will be the key enabler that delivers truly smart manufacturing and drives productivity to a higher level.
Can revolutions can be mapped out in advance? Do they truly drive changes or are they just the result of incremental development? These questions are still relevant today – they may help us to take an objective look at whether i4.0 is just marketing jargon or a genuinely transformative event. To help answer these questions in the context of the present day, INSPHERE will be releasing a series of articles over the coming months, looking both backwards through history and forwards into the short and medium-term future. Read more.
Made Smarter, an independent review commissioned by the government and released last year, identified the positioning of the UK with respect to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Since its release, over the last 12 months it has been impossible to discuss the future of manufacturing without hearing terms like Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning or Big Data. The terminology, branding and messaging has come to the fore of the manufacturing conversation. However, the over-arching sentiment that seems to have been established is clear: collect data and use it to improve your manufacturing system. Read more.
To help you get to know a little more about all the INSPHEROs, meet Bingru Yang.
What do you do at INSPHERE?
I am a Principal Metrologist at INSPHERE with my main focus on the research and development of novel metrology solutions for high value manufacturing processes. Read more.
This article is being written in the departure lounge of Hamburg Airport, waiting for a flight back to the UK. The third running of 3DMC has drawn to a successful close, and a hundred metrologists are tonight redistributing themselves around the globe to return to their day jobs. Tomorrow will inevitably be spent discussing the event with colleagues, while sifting through newly-acquired business cards to follow up on half-finished conversations.
There are many reasons to attend conferences: a chance to build our networks, to learn about new systems and new applications of metrology, to push forward the academic cutting-edge of the field, or to build an awareness of the products and services that are on offer to the industry. These are just a few of the obvious ones. Read more.
Laser trackers are great instruments for accurate measurements over tens of metres. That said - like many metrology instruments - it is easy for “bad” data to be acquired. One of the largest sources of error can be attributed to poor working practices. Poor working practices lead to large variations between operators, and an overall loss in confidence in the measurement system as a whole. Read more…
Recognising the benefits of modern measurement techniques in high value manufacturing, a global oil and gas company commissioned INSPHERE to help build an advanced metrology team from the ground up. Read more…
At the start of the year, we expanded our team of INSPHEROs. Here's an interview with one of our specialist metrology engineers who is also one of our NPL Dimensional Measurement trainers.
Meet INSPHERO, Solomon Kamugasa.
What do you do at INSPHERE?
I am a Metrology Engineer with a varied brief involving service measurements, training delivery, as well as Research and Development (R&D). Read more…
A popular board game in the 1980s famously took, "a minute to learn... a lifetime to master". Portable arms are a deceptively simple metrology system for which the same catchphrase applies. Arms are designed to be highly flexible and easy to use for a wide variety of measurement tasks. However, understanding measurement datasets and how to use them for verification, reverse engineering or any other application can be far more involved than it first appears.
Here are five steps to help provide a sound basis for adopting more robust and effective methods when using portable arms. Read more…