Engineering

4 Manufacturing Industry Trends Every Engineer Should Know

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Today’s manufacturing industry is marked by an unprecedented access to data. What many call Industry 4.0 has brought forth an era where manufacturers can know everything that’s happening on the factory floor. This means better transparency and more opportunities for optimizing the manufacturing process. At the same time, Internet technology opens up data security risks, and many companies are overwhelmed with a deluge of raw data.

Robotics, 3D printing, and IoT technology are major technologies that are transforming the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers have long been concerned with saving time and money and seeking technology to get ahead of the curve, but today’s industry is vastly different than it was just a few years ago. Advancements in technology are spurring a race for efficiency while simultaneously creating the problem of data overload. Recent manufacturing trends show key insights into how companies are adapting to these ever-changing times.

The world of professional 3D printing offers an abundance of materials. Gone are the days when your options were limited to a few cheap plastics. With recent breakthroughs in professional 3D printing, nylon, stainless steel, carbon fiber, and other advanced materials are in reach. Because 3D printing can create nearly any geometry quickly and easily, this method is often the best choice over traditional fabrication, regardless of the material.

3D printing has more material options than ever before, but it can be hard to decide which material is the best for your project. Whether you’re creating a prototype, tool, or end-use product, choosing the right material is essential. The most common classes of 3D printing materials are plastics, metals, and composites. Plastics are the most popular 3D printing material, but metal and composite 3D printers are on the rise, combining the automation of 3D printing with high-performance materials.

Composites unite many of the best qualities that traditional materials have to offer. The two components of a composite include a reinforcement (often a high-performance fiber such as carbon or glass) and a matrix (such as epoxy polymer). The matrix binds the reinforcement together to merge the benefits of both original components.

Composites are improving the design process and end products across industries, from aerospace to renewable energy. Each year, composites continue to replace traditional materials like steel and aluminum. As composite costs come down and design flexibility improves, fiber-reinforced composites like carbon fiber and fiberglass open up new design opportunities for engineers.

Imagine creating fully-optimized composite materials with the press of a button. Magnetic 3D printing, or Fluxprint, does just that. No complex fabrication, no sub-par materials. Just custom composites within hours.

Fluxprint is an additive manufacturing process that creates precisely-tailored composites such as carbon fiber. This method combines the benefits of 3D printing and composites. Composites are among the most advanced materials available. 3D printing is an incredibly fast, hands-off fabrication process that can form nearly any geometry. Fluxprint goes a step further by precisely tailoring composites voxel-by-voxel to create the ideal material for a project.

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