Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are driving today’s manufacturing, combining physical production and operations with smart digital technology. With a focus on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, the use of real-time data and artificial intelligence (AI), Industry 4.0 recalls high-tech industries like medical devices , aerospace and computer technologies. Definitely not cutting tools, right? Wrong.
“In the 21st century manufacturing environment, companies are embracing Industry 4.0 technologies, and efficient access to digital product data is critical to achieving the level of precision required in today’s cutting tool industry.” hui also â, says Bill Orris, ARCH Cutting Tools Senior Director – Product Development and Custom Solutions. âWe are now able to export tooling data from our products directly to our customers’ digital CAD / CAM, ERP and other workshop environments, accelerating solid modeling and simulations. “
A giant leap for a 20th century company, you think. But a certain historical perspective will show that this is really an evolution.
First of all, what is Industry 4.0? This is the fourth industrial evolution that began around 2000, with data becoming the primary driver of manufacturing. The history of industry and manufacturing is summed up in the three previous industrial revolutions – around 1765, when the production of goods became mechanized, followed by the second industrial revolution in 1870, when industry became electrified, and the third industrial revolution in 1969 when electronic automation was introduced.
So it’s time for the cutting tool industry to catch up, right? It’s not about catching up, but rather evolving and innovating with the rest of manufacturing. Cutting tools and stock removal technology have been an essential part of every industrial revolution.
When the production of goods first became mechanized, there could not have been a production of standardized, reproducible and reliable parts without standardized, reproducible and reliable cutting and drilling.
As the industry evolved, cutting and material removal technology had to be at the forefront to enable faster and more efficient production; and process new and more diverse materials as they enter the markets.
Today, as data and digitization drive manufacturing, cutting tool technology is once again leading the way, as it did in the late 1700s on the dawn of the first industrial revolution.
Cutting tools have always been âhigh-techâ, as defined in each era; and now, as with any industry, the high-tech component is digital and data-driven. As a result, the cutting tool industry continues to dominate manufacturing, and ARCH Cutting Tools sets the industry standard with its approach to digitization, cloud-based management of customer data and information, and integration of its solutions.
Communication tools with the software
Industry 4.0 affects the cutting tool industry from quote to delivery, according to Orris.
âThe tools become ‘intellectual’ because that’s what today’s industry needs,â he says. âUsing sophisticated technology and integrated chips, tools communicate with software to collect data essential to efficient manufacturing. Understanding the data and applying what has been learned is the key to effectiveness.
The cutting tool industry has traditionally relied on tribal knowledge – experiential learnings expertly applied to meet new challenges and spur innovation, he explained. But that is about to change.
âWe have stopped looking back and applying Industry 4.0 principles to become predictive,â he says. âCollecting and managing data enables industry to apply predictive analytics. TO CAMBER, for example, we’ve built comprehensive data platforms that allow us to predict performance and improve ROI for our customers by optimizing performance and avoiding unplanned outages.
Does this mean that smart tools don’t require a human component?
âThe human intellect, our experience and knowledge, the innovative nature of experienced professionals will always be essential for effective AI,â emphasizes Orris. âTechnology, including cutting tool technology, cannot exist and evolve without human blood, sweat and tears! “
It’s to understand how to use the data, and sometimes find unintended uses for the data, that require the insight and expertise of professionals, he added.
âData gets stronger and more comprehensive day by day as it is collected,â says Orris. âBut in our industry, it’s all about experience applying what we’ve learned from data. The experience and principles of Industry 4.0 are complementary. Industry 4.0 tools allow us to use our experience more effectively.
The future of the digital cutting tool industry
The goals of manufacturing in the future are essentially the same as at the dawn of the first industrial revolution: reduce cycle time, reduce errors, increase productivity, improve quality, increase profitability.
âThe principles of Industry 4.0 have helped us reduce our own learning curve,â notes Orris. âThe speed of change in manufacturing today demands unprecedented agility and rapid innovation. We need to position ourselves to apply our understanding of data to be ready for anything.
âAnythingâ can mean new materials or a new variation of an existing material, new manufacturing processes, or simply unforeseen demands or impacts on the manufacturing industry.
âWe are successful,â says Orris, âwhen we can effectively apply data to meet a manufacturing challenge, rather than react to it. It’s a subtle difference, but responding leads to a straightforward solution, while responding often wastes time in trying to find a solution first. At ARCH, we want to be the first responders to the cutting tool industry.
ARCH Cutting Tools had made a significant investment in its digital processes, notes Orris. This is important to create value for the customer. With ARCH Specials, for example, by applying refined digital design based on customer data early in the production process, the need for design variations can be reduced by 50%.
âWith Industry 4.0, we are creating tools that are highly connected to their applications,â added Orris. âIn the field, the tools are poorly applied at a rate of up to 70%. Using our digital process, we’re focused on reducing that 70% to – ideally, 0. We’re always looking for ways to control variables and maximize efficiency. “
Bill Orris, ARCH Cutting Tools Senior Director – Product Development and Custom Solutions, is an industry 4.0 expert and an innovation leader in the cutting tool industry.
The four industrial revolutions – historical overview
Industry 4.0 is not a buzzword. It is a description of our current fourth industrial revolution – a historic development; following the three previous ones. Here are the four generally recognized industrial revolutions (all dates approximate):
1765 – the production of goods becomes mechanized and the world economy moves from agriculture to industry. Coal is the main fuel, steam the main energy. Forging and cutting of metal are standardized.
1870 – industry becomes faster and more efficient with the discovery / exploitation of electricity. The new fuels are gas and oil, which power more powerful and efficient internal combustion engines. Metal forming becomes more sophisticated with these advanced techniques. Newly developed steel and chemical materials are beginning to enter the market.
1969 – industry is entering the nuclear era (primary energy in Europe, less in the USA) and is dominated by my electronic automation. Materials are diversifying to meet new expanding markets (aerospace, electronics, etc.) and material handling in manufacturing is becoming more complex.
2000 – for the first time, the main changes in industry and manufacturing are not driven by energy, fuel or materials; but are driven by information – data is the new engine. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digitalization created a real-time connection between every manufacturing process and component – design / engineering, production line, delivery, and even end-of-life disposal. Industrial Internet of Things, cloud technology, AI – all of these merge the worlds of physical and virtual manufacturing.
Source: Adapted from – Meet the Three Industrial Revolutions Unit | Salesforce Starting Point