Metalworking has come a long way from blacksmiths banging on anvils. Today the industry is driven more by science and technology than hard labor! The doors to all different innovations have been opened as a result and these days, we’re producing better, faster and smarter than ever before, in an industry that’s still going through amazing growth.
What’s next for the metalworking industry? Take a look at a few of the most pivotal changes coming down the line and how they’re bound to move the industry forward in new and exciting ways.
The 4th industrial revolution
Metalworking and other forms of industrial manufacturing are entering a drastic period of change—the 4th of its kind in recorded history.
The 1st industrial revolution marked the move from agrarian societies to producer societies (fields to factories). The 2nd revolution was powered by a wave of new inventions just before the first World War. The 3rd industrial revolution saw the replacement of analog devices by digital ones. Now, the 4th revolution will see the rise of automation, augmented reality, big data and more.
The 4th industrial revolution will change metalworking by unlocking more precise, data-driven results. From heat treating to automated machining (CNC), the way metalworkers execute their jobs will be refined, repeatable and ultimately exact.
Remember 3D printing? The craze came out of nowhere and left just as quickly, but it’s not gone for good. The concept of additive manufacturing is bringing it back! This approach to metalworking involves efficient production of metal objects through an automated “printing” method. It’s still in early stages, but it’s coming to head quickly as we learn more about how to handle extruded metals, heated binder polymers and much more.
Programmatic machining and automation are already present in the metalworking industry, but they’re about to become an even larger focus. While most modern shops have CNC machines or programmable presses, automated metalworking could mean the adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices that completely facilitate production from start-to-finish. Imagine slotting a piece of sheet metal, specifying a program and coming back later to a product that’s been properly turned, sheared, rolled and cut into exactly what you need, with no manual input!
Big data insights
Being able to anticipate when your brake press is about to malfunction or if your lathe needs to be serviced will save metalworkers a huge amount of frustration. That’s exactly what big data insights will be able to do in the near future. Aggregated data systems are coming to metalworking, providing insight into anything you could ever want to know about your machinery, metal products and labor practices.
The future of metalworking is coming fast
With issues like skilled labor shortages, a competitive global economy and scarcity among resources driving the need for change, these new trends are rapidly coming to fruition. It’s only a matter of time before the 4th industrial revolution hits and brings with it a renaissance of metalworking. When that time comes, count on Quality Metals Inc. to continue supplying you with best-in-class metal products!