3D Printing and Industry 4.0 in “Smart Industry Polska 2018” ReportAgnieszka
Industry 4.0 is an industrial revolution driven by the development of new technologies, among which additive technologies, Internet of Things, augmented reality or Big Data with the preservation of cyber security deserve special attention. Siemens in cooperation with the Ministry of Business and Technology initiated “Smart Industry Polska 2018” survey, within which the level of innovativeness of micro, small and medium production enterprises resulting from the implementation of modern technologies was determined. Below we present the most important conclusions of the report regarding the role of additive technologies in the implementation of the idea of Industry 4.0.
The survey respondents were decision-makers responsible for company management in the area of innovation, new technologies and enterprise development. They were business owners or persons employed in the positions of managing directors, directors or production or development managers. Based on the results of the survey, it can be observed that entrepreneurs expect that thanks to the implementation of innovative technological solutions, the quality of their products and services will improve. They also expect higher productivity and lower costs.
Less downtime and failures during production
One of the most important areas of enterprise development resulting from the implementation of innovative technologies, indicated by medium-sized companies is the ability to reduce the number of failures and downtimes, 3D Printing technology is a perfect solution in this field and it is more and more often a part of a preventive maintenance strategy. Many manufacturers use 3D Printers in the production of non-standard spare parts, especially in situations where they are no longer available, the cost of buying them is too high or the waiting time for parts for machines used on the production line is too long.
Production automation and optimization
Among most commonly used technologies and solutions supporting the innovativeness of enterprises most frequently used by medium-sized companies respondents mentioned the automation of production lines, data analytics aimed at optimizing production and software reducing the costs of prototyping and introducing new products. 3D Printing technology, which is a relatively new solution, turned out to be more important for microenterprises (23% declared its use). Such companies most often focus on individual, often niche products. Implementing 3D Printing technology allows the use of personalized solutions for individual customers.
Simplicity of technology implementation
The respondents considered data analytics to optimize production activities the easiest to implement (in total, 41% of respondents considered this solution as easy or very easy to implement). The next technology with the least degree of implementation difficulty turned out to be 3D Printing (39% of answers in total).
The participants of the “Smart Industry Polska 2018” survey were also asked about the direct impact of individual solutions on improving the profitability of the company. In this respect, medium-sized companies most often indicated robotization and automation, while micro-enterprises indicated 3D Printing, Internet of Things or advanced digital technologies.
It is worth taking a look at the respondents’ answers in relation to the type of industry represented. The largest impact of technology on company’s profits dynamics can be seen in the case of companies in heavy industry. They have showed a higher impact on the profitability of operations than respondents representing light industry in almost all technologies assessed.
The results of the report clearly show that respondents often see their chance for development and innovation in 3D Printing technology, which, depending on the size of a given company, has a different role. In this way, medium-sized companies more often talk about the possibility of reducing the number of failures and downtimes, while micro-enterprises perceive 3D Printing technology as a chance to increase the profitability of the company. At the same time, all respondents define 3D Printing technology as one of the easiest to implement.