Technology has evolved at a rapid rate in recent years, changing the world as we know it in many different sectors. The metalworking industry is no different, as advancements continue to play a role in the new movement that affects businesses across the country.
The growth of modern technology presents a range of new opportunities, but also establishes new obstacles and challenges. So, how is technology changing the metalworking industry for the better and worse? Let’s take a closer look.
The excitement around the world of 3-D printing has largely been limited to the plastics industry in recent years as metal printing has been notoriosly difficult due to a lack of reliable facilities. However, Desktop Metal has gained a lot of traction over the last 18 months or so, and is on the verge of changing the metalworking industry forever. In truth, the negative impacts probably outweigh the positives.
Opportunities offered by the 3-D printing are set to challenge, and potentially kill off at least some parts of, the traditional metalworking sector as it will allow companies to print produce prototypes, small production runs, and a variety of parts without needing the experts. Limitations are still in place, though, and advancements in other areas do allow modern metalworking businesses to thrive.
While almost half of all metalworking businesses concede that tech changes do present challenges, not least financially, the modern facilities enable companies to keep up with the ever-changing requirements of the modern client and consumer. High-speech machining (HSM) is one idea that continues to reach more and more companies within the sector. Those that adopt it are more likely to succeed.
Twin-turret and turn-mill technology are also emerging as a popular solution for metalworking companies. This has allowed for the diversification of production lines, lean manufacturing processes, production monitoring, and a variety of additional advancements. JPS Metal Working Machinery say laser cutting and plasma cutting are longstanding techniques, with new but not bleeding edge machines boosting production speed and accuracy too.
Artificial intelligence has been adopted in many fields, and the metalworking sector is now catching up to complete certain tasks using automation. Meanwhile, adopting software that automatically calculates pricing and other issues can work wonders for providing online clients with a faster, more accurate, and ultimately better customer experience. Technology can also extend to customer support.
The use of AI can open the door to 24/7 manufacturing while also facilitating enhanced production outcomes. This ultimately presents an opportunity for faster scalability. Perhaps most importantly, especially given the competition from outside industries, the incorporation of modern facilities can significantly reduce the overheads without completely removing the need for skilled experts in the field.
The Final Word
It’s an important time for the metalworking industry as many businesses find themselves at a crossroads. Those that aren’t willing to change may find themselves left behind. However, those that embrace the latest technology to provide fast production, incredible accuracy, and excellent customer service should still win out over the alternative methods such as 3-D printing.