- Changing Compliance Regulations & Traceability
- Skills Gap
- Environment Concerns
The industrial and manufacturing sector keep evolving and that evolution doesn’t just happen. It’s almost always a direct result of overcoming the challenges that threaten the very existence of the sector. So, are there any challenges that the sector is dealing with currently?
Well, here are 5 challenges the manufacturing sector is currently trying to overcome.
Changing Compliance Regulations & Traceability
Changing regulations have always haunted manufacturers. But, they’re there for a good reason. Without compliance standards, manufacturers could very well end up cutting corners, which ultimately ends up affecting the end consumer.
So, for the sake of things such as quality control or proper waste management, compliance standards need to exist. However, complying with new standards isn’t an easy task for manufacturers. More often than not, they’re a burden and thanks to globalization, manufacturers are also forced to deal with regulations that are unique to each territory.
Manufacturers are also tasked with tracking compliance as well. This means that have to go through the entire supply chain to check for compliance, right from vendors to the end-product that’s sent to the customer.
As technology evolves, the rate of innovation increases. But, this also means companies have to rush and that can lead to all kinds of temptations. The urge to skip a step or avoid certain tests can be hard to resist when the goal is to market the product as soon as possible.
But, the last thing a manufacturer needs is to put the business at risk with a low-quality product. So, innovation management becomes a must in these situations. Preferences change by the day and any delay in delivering appropriate solutions can mean the end of everything.
So, manufacturers have to establish a system that allows for the consistent delivery of new ideas and innovation. Only this can sustain manufacturing success.
As one generation exits the workforce, it makes way for a new generation of workers. This transition is, in itself, quite a challenge. But, things are very different today.
Manufacturers face the challenge of filling up those positions with equally skilled members from the current generation. However, the new generation of employees is simply not skilled enough, making the challenge even harder to overcome. As a result, manufacturers have to develop strategies such as working with the education sector to offer the skills training necessary to fill these positions.
Some manufacturers are also retaining skill by extending the retirement age.
As healthcare costs go up, it becomes very difficult for manufacturers to manage their budgets. For instance, in the US, it’s manufacturers who foot healthcare bills for their employees. But, with costs going up, it is simply not feasible and there are no viable alternatives.
Regulations with regard to sustainable and environmentally safe processes and practices put more strain on the manufacturing process. Whether it’s waste disposal or the regulation of materials, more resources are needed to follow best practices.
As you can see, it’s not exactly easy for the industrial and manufacturing sector. However, manufacturers have to figure out a way to leverage technology and innovative ideas to keep up with the changes that pose a threat to them.
Sourcing is perhaps among the most exciting parts of the product development lifecycle. The first step is to picture a new design in the mind, then create prototypes, and finally, the product is ready to be manufactured.
However, according to majority of companies that create products, sourcing and deciding on a manufacturer can lead to the success or failure of a product. Finding a compromise between deciding on a factory to manufacture a quality product and managing logistics – like timelines, shipping and minimum order quantities – is the challenge usually encountered in developing new products. It becomes even more difficult in today’s worldwide economy to identify many factories to choose from.
The steps that need to be taken in identifying manufacturers are as follows:
How To Identify The Right Manufacturers to Work With
As a start, identify a number of factories that a business can learn more about. It would help to get referrals. A business can contact the companies with similar products and inquire about the manufacturer they use. This way, the business can discover more about this company from the outlook of someone in the same position.
At this point, a business should identify the factories that could meet their requirements and make a shortlist. When identifying factories that they will investigate further, they should ask the following questions:
Do they like a domestic or overseas manufacturer?
There are important things to consider in choosing between a domestic and overseas manufacturer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, and it also depends on the product they plan to manufacture. They should weigh the cost, quality and speed. Most of all, they should think about their needs. Products that need to be assembled will be cheaper abroad, since they have lower labor costs. However, big parts that occupy much space in a crate will be cheaper locally. Also, shipping and duties need to be considered as well.
Do they like to work directly with the factory, or would rather work with a broker/agent that is a factory representative in the US?
The answer really depends on their needs. When they work directly with the factory, it would cost less, and they may be more involved. When they work with a broker/agent, though they will be less involved, they will be able to work through an agent whose relationship with the factory is already established. Everything depends on what is best for their situation.
Can the type of manufacturing they need be managed by the factory?
It is obvious that businesses have to be specific in identifying the manufacturer they need. For example, a factory that is working with electronics does not necessarily mean that they have the capacity to manufacture all kinds of electronic products, since there is a vast assortment of requirements involved. So, businesses should choose a manufacturer that best meets their needs.
The process of creating a printed circuit board for a small business can be a time-consuming process. A great way to simplify the process and get the relevant parts ready for manufacturing is to use a professional service. This can help to not only create the clean and efficient board, but also save time and help to detect manufacturing issues as soon as possible. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of using a professional service:
A major benefit of using this type of service is the ability to create a high-quality board with soldering at an expert level. Many of the professional boards make use of the most impressive silk-screening methods, solder resist and laminates. A professional service is most effective with setups that have a lot of surface mounted components. The ability to use automated placement of the components will lead to a higher degree of accuracy and less risk of producing a defective board. Also, with the tiny components that are located very close together, the latest machines are the most reliable option for the precise solder joints.
The ability to use a professional service will save a lot of time for any company looking to create a prototype for a new product. If self-building the printed circuit built it will be necessary to get in touch with multiple parts supplies and an assembly house. The extra time-saving from outsourcing can be put to use elsewhere, which is especially helpful in a company with only a few employees.
A professional service will be very effective at detecting any errors that may appear in the process of creating the printed circuit board. The ability to create a prototype is a useful way to know if there will likely by any errors with the product or manufacturing. Any errors detected early can help to save a lot of wasted time, effort and resources. Also, once the defects are discovered, it will be possible to learn from these mistakes and create future projects with better design practices.
The option to use a professional service will help with calculating the costs for the different stages of the manufacturing process. Once the prototype has been built and the design and layout is confirmed for future production, it will be possible to get a quote for a small or high volume production run to match the specific need.
Shot blasting is a technique used to clean, fortify (strengthen) or polish metals. The method is used in virtually all industries that use metals such as automotive, construction, foundry, aerospace and several others. The question arises, how is shot blasting carried out? A machine (shot blasting machine) comes to our rescue. The machine strongly blasts the metal under processing to remove such impurities as rust, scale and welding slag.To efficiently carry out its job, the shot blasting machine is composed of components that each carry out a particular function as explained below:-
The Blast Wheel
The blast wheels are a critical spare part of blasting equipment. A blast wheel produces the centrifugal force required to project the abrasive particles. The rate of work and kind of job affect the number of wheels that are installed on the blasting machine.
The cabinet is a closed booth free of vibration, and it is made of steel. It is lined with a wear resistant liner, usually an Mn alloy. The cabinet provides an environment where the abrasive particles (traveling at high speeds of 50 – 100m/s) can be treated.
This component varies greatly from machine to machine, as it directly depends on the following two factors; the type of machine you are using and the size and quality of the particles to be obtained in the end. For example, roller conveyor type shot blasting machine is designed for heavy-duty beams, steel profile and fabricated work pieces.
The abrasive recovery system is recovered at the lowest end of the shot blasting machine cabinet and linked to the screw conveyor on the base of the elevator (which also carries the separator). The elevator is a critical part since it’s malfunction will translate to low production rates of the shot blasting machine. It thus requires constant maintenance.
The principal goal of the separator is to clean is to clean the abrasive particles origination from the blast wheel. When abrasive metal particles enter the blast wheel, they must be rid of all contaminants as the cleaning makes the shot blasting machine work efficiently.
As the name implies, the work of this component is to collect dust during the blasting process. The dust originates from the cabinet ventilation and separator. It usually creates laden air creating an avenue for environmental pollution and the potential health risk to the workers in working in the industry. To curb the problems, the user of the machine should assure proper work to the dust controller.
The importance of this machines can’t be stressed enough. The significance is explained by their widespread use in the machinery world. However, users need to fully understand the annals of shot blasting machine for them to harvest the power at their disposal fully. Proper knowledge will also ensure that minimal (if any) environmental pollution is caused, and consequently reduced health risks to workers in a given industry.
Patent drawings are one of the most important and key features required from the USPTO while an Inventor files for a patent. These invention blueprints, or patent drawings consist of dimensions, views, and other information to help relate not only the inventions look, but also its functionality. CAD is the tool in most cases that is used in order to design patents. Any Inventor should definitely familiarize themselves with CAD because it is a staple within any type of design now a days, and especially within Inventions and prototype design.
Invention designers or CAD designers are the ones who actually manipulate CAD software into creating something known as a 3D model. 3D models are used for several different things, and invention blueprints as well as patent drawings are just a few. These complex design files hold all the necessary information to instruct machines that manufacturer rapid prototypes and inventions how to operate. These CAD files are extremely diversified in the sense that one 3D model can perform several task. In the end if an Inventor chooses the right Invention Designer this fact will permit them to save money by purchasing more than one service from the invention design company.
3D Modeling Services
The majority of 3D modeling services perform only certain types of design in which inventions and prototypes are not usually within. 3D modeling services will generally only perform design task such as architectural work, mechanical, electrical, or some specialty field. If you’re interested in finding a CAD design service who specializes in invention design, your best bet would be to search online. Invention design services are out there, but if you’re not careful it’s easy to get mixed up with the wrong one who can turn your patent mission into a complete nightmare.
So within the first steps an Inventor takes they are normally notified that they will need a CAD Prototype. Unless an Inventor creates the prototype from hand a CAD file will surely be needed. In all reality when someone thinks of the word prototype they normally associate a high dollar amount for cost with it. Really this is the furthest thing from the truth if you can find an honest invention design service or rapid prototype service to perform your needs. Really an Inventor should look for one service to not only design the prototype, but also make the prototype. If found this service should produce reduced cost to the Inventor since they are purchasing more than one service from them.
From foil wrappers and household foil to semi-rigid foil containers, lids and laminated foil pouches, aluminium foil applications offer a versatile range of packaging solutions to meet today’s sustainability challenges. The physical properties of aluminium foil, such as the absolute barrier effect, lead to more protection and longer shelf-lives for the product contents, as well as better preservation of their nutritional and health benefits. The net result: less food waste and so greater resource efficiency. Also, less use of resources results in a reduction in the overall environmental impact and improved profitability.
In summary: More efficient packaging ultimately saves resources or, in other words, More is Less! The following lists some of the unique characteristics of aluminium foil and gives examples of how these properties provide resource- and energy-efficient solutions.
Barrier: Aluminium foil acts as an absolute barrier to light, gases and moisture providing almost perfect preservation of aroma, flavour and other product characteristics thus protecting product quality. It has a highly efficient barrier function to weight ratio, e.g., for 1 litre of milk packed in a beverage carton, only 1.5 grams of aluminium is sufficient to allow an ambient shelf-life of several months.
By enabling useful life of products for extended periods at room temperature, aluminium foil helps to reduce food waste and then to save the important resources used to produce the food. This also provides energy savings as products can be preserved without the need for refrigeration.
Product to pack ratio: In particular, due to the absolute barrier property even at very low gauges, aluminium foil allows for the development of packaging solutions that are both very efficient and very light. The product to pack ratio of flexible foil packaging is generally very high, potentially 5 to 10 times higher than for rigid packaging used for the same application.
High product to pack ratio means less packaging material is used to protect and deliver the same quantity of product. This also means less energy to transport the packaging whether empty or filled. And at the end of life there is significantly less packaging waste generated
Portion-ability: Foil’s excellent ability to be used alone or in combination with other materials (paper and/or plastic) provides flexibility to easily pack the product (food) into appropriate and convenient portions.
Providing food in appropriate quantities prevents both over-preparation and over-consumption which contribute to food wastage. Portioning also extends the shelf-life of the unprepared food by keeping it packaged and protected.
Material and space efficiency: Aluminium foil can efficiently be laminated with other materials to combine specific properties of several flexible packaging substrates in a complementary way for an improved overall performance and a very limited overall amount of material used. The reduced amount of material used in flexible foil packaging, plus the fact that it is delivered in the form of rolls, leads to more space efficiency during storage and transportation and enables further energy and cost savings.
Mechanical properties: Uniquely light yet strong, foil’s ‘deadfold’ characteristics allows it to wrap products tightly and without any glue or other sealing systems.
For household foil for example, the easy wrapping and reclose-ability helps to prevent food waste through appropriate protection of the goods at home or on-the-go and the possibility to efficiently preserve leftovers.
Thermal conductivity: Aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat and is able to withstand extreme temperatures. Alufoil is ideal for use in autoclaving, heat-sealing and other thermal processes (e.g. retort).
Excellent thermal conductivity minimizes the processing, sealing, chilling and re-heating times, thus saving energy and also ensuring a better protection of the organoleptic and nutritional quality of the food by flattening extreme temperature gradients within the product.
Electrical conductivity: Excellent electrical conductivity of aluminium foil enables high-
precision, contact-free sealing, thus widening the application range for efficient and fast filling technologies.The presence of aluminium foil in a packaging facilitates induction and ultrasonic sealing, saving materials and energy by minimizing the seal area and time.
Reflectivity: Aluminium foil reflects up to 98% of light and infrared heat. Good heat reflectivity saves energy during the cooling or heating of in pack prepared foods.
Multi-mode cooking: The unique combination of thermal, electrical heat transfer allows food to be cooked or re-heated by convection or microwave oven and/or in ‘bain marie’ systems. This flexibility in heating/cooking helps save time and energy during preparation.
Recyclability: Aluminium material is fully recyclable, endlessly, without any loss of quality. Increasing collection and recycling/recovery rates for aluminium foil and aluminium foil packaging means that an equivalent quantity of primary (i.e. virgin) aluminium will not be required by the industry. This represents a significant energy saving as processing recycled aluminium requires up to 95% less energy than the equivalent quantity of primary metal produced from bauxite.In Europe it is assumed that average recycling rate of all aluminium packaging is above 60%. The amount of aluminium packaging recycled greatly depends on the efficiency of the national packaging collection schemes in each European country. For aluminium foil trays and semi-rigid containers, the latest statistics show that the average recycling rate in Europe reaches about 55% thanks to continued work by the industry to promote the value of collection and recycling of aluminium foil packaging. For foil flexible packs, generally having a lower aluminium content since the packaging is often very thin and frequently laminated with plastics or paper, it is also possible to recover the aluminium from the scraps and reclaim it for closed-loop recycling, using specially developed technologies like pyrolysis. In the situations where aluminium foil packaging is not collected separately for recycling and enters an energy recovery process, a significant proportion of the aluminium in the packaging – even the thin gauge foil – can be collected from the bottom ashes for recycling. The part of aluminium which is oxidized during incineration is releasing energy which is recovered and converted to heat and electricity.
Resource Efficiency of aluminium foil packaging: For a given product there are often several effective packaging solutions able to perform the required functions. But some solutions are more resource efficient than others in that they use less resources.
Because of the combination of the unique above properties, aluminium foil packaging supports efficient use of resources and waste minimization throughout the lifecycle of the packed product. Not only does foil packaging help to save important food resources by offering optimised fit-for-purpose solutions with reduced risk of product waste, but it makes a very efficient use of packaging material over its entire life cycle.
Phase 0: Feasibility Analysis
The goal of this phase is to identify existing technology to achieve the intended high-level function. If technology can be purchased as opposed to developed, the scope of subsequent development phases changes.
Simply put, product development companies research and assess the probability that the current technology can be used to reach the intended functionality of the product. By doing this, the development efforts are reduced, which in financial terms represent a great reduction in development costs.
Moreover, if the technology is not yet available, then the assessment can result in longer development cycles and the focus moves into creating the new technology (if humanly possible) that can accomplish the functionality of the product.
This is an important part of the in any product development process because it is safer and financially responsible to understand the constraints that a product can have prior to starting a full development cycle. A feasibility study can cost between 7 -15 thousand dollars. It might be sound very expensive for some, but when it is much better than investing $100k+ to end up with a product that no manufacturer is able to produce.
Phase 1: Specification or PRD (Product Requirements Document) development
If your product is feasible, congratulations! you are a step closer to creating your product and you can move into documenting what is going to go into the product itself, aka the guts (product objective, core components, intended end-user, aesthetics, User interphase, etc).
In this phase, product design and engineering focus on documenting the critical functionality, constraints, and inputs to the design. This is a critical step to keep development focused, identify the high-risk areas, and ensure that scope creep is minimized later.
This document will help you communicate the key features of your product and how they are supposed to work to all members of your team. This will ensure that you keep everyone involved on the same page.
Without one, you are more likely to stay off track and miss deadlines. think about the PRD as your project management breakdown structure (BDS)
Phase 2: Concept Development
Initial shape development work identifies options for form, as well as possible approaches for complex mechanical engineering challenges. Initial flowchart of software/firmware also happens here, as well as concept design level user interface work. Aesthetic prototypes may be included in this Phase, if appropriate. Prototype in this phase will not typically be functional.
Phase 3: Initial Design and Engineering
Based on decisions made at the end a concept development phase, actual product design and engineering programming can start. In this phase, Level 1 prototypes are often used to test approaches to technical challenges.
Phase 4: Design Iteration
This part of the project is where we focus on rapid cycles, quickly developing designs and prototypes, as the depth of engineering work increases. This phase can include Level 2 and 3 prototypes, typically through multiple cycles. Some products require as many as twenty prototype cycles in this phase. Others may only require two or three.
Phase 5: Design Finalization / Optimization
With all assumptions tested and validated, the design can be finalized and then optimized for production. To properly optimize for production, product design and engineering teams take into account the target production volumes, as well as the requirements of the manufacturer. Regulatory work may start in this phase.
Phase 6: Manufacturing Start and Support
Before production starts, tooling is produced, and initial units are inspected. Final changes are negotiated with the manufacturer. Regulatory work also should wrap up in this phase.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, you may need a good welding machine. You can find different types of welding machines. Some are cheap and some are expensive. For aspiring welders, it’s a good idea to find out more about different types of welding machines. Given below are a few tips that can help you opt for the right equipment.
1. Consider the Type of Metal
Typically, the welding job is done on carbon steel. Actually, carbon steel can withstand a lot of heat. Therefore, it supports most of the welding machines you can find in the market.
Since stainless steel can resist corrosion, it’s a good choice for the storage of edible items or beverages. Moreover, it supports MIG and TIG machines as well. Aside from this, it doesn’t consume a lot of power.
Aluminum requires consistent heat in order to ensure that the weld pool doesn’t dry out. Moreover, the amount of heat leads to the deformation of the piece. So, you need a complex welder in order to work on aluminum. This type of equipment allows you to do pulse welding.
It’s a good idea to make an assessment of the metal that you want to conjoin prior to opting for a machine.
2. Choose the Right Amperage
The price of the equipment depends upon the amount of power it can produce. You need more current to work on thicker metals. So, before you make a choice, don’t forget to consider your needs.
For instance, if you need to work on a pipe or steel that has 1-inch or higher thickness, you need a stick welding machine.
For tin metals, you need a machine that is more sensitive. You need the right amount of heat to do your work
3. Opt for an Ideal Site
The workplace is also an important factor to keep in mind when opting for a welder. For instance, domestic facilities have 115 or 220 volts power supply. So, you may want to get a welder that works on either 115 or 220 volts. Some powerful welders require a three-phase power supply. So, you may want to keep this in mind.
4. Check the Specs Sheet
Don’t forget to read the specs sheet. It will help you know a lot of important things that will help you make the right choice. For instance, by reading the specs sheet, you can find out how much work a welder can do in a given time period.
Duty cycle refers to the number of minutes that a machine can weld. If you keep working even after the given time is over, you may risk damaging your machine due to overheating.
5. Compressed-Gas Requirements
Lastly, you need to consider the type of compressed gas as well. Common names include carbon dioxide, argon, and oxygen. Based on your requirements, you should opt for the right type of compressed gas.