Around the world manufacturers are wondering how they adapt to the rise of 3D printing nod the continued challenge of China’s low costs of production.
In Singapore, Reuters reports, the government is putting its hopes on new technology boosting the country’s manufacturing industry in one of the world’s highest cost centers.
“The future of manufacturing for us is about disruptive technologies, areas like 3D printing, automation and robotics,” EDB Managing Director Yeoh Keat Chuan told Reuters.
Britain too is experimenting with modern technologies as the BBC’s World of Business reports about how the country is reinventing its manufacturing industry.
Tim Chapman of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre describes how the economics of manufacturing changes in a high cost economy with an simple advance in machining rotor disks for Rolls-Royce Trent jet engines.
“These quite complex shaped grooves were taking 54 minutes of machining to make each of these slots. Rolls-Royce came to us and said can ‘can you improve the efficiency of this? Can you cut these slots faster.”
“We reduced the cutting time from 54 minutes to 90 seconds.”
“That’s the kind of process improvement that companies need to achieve to manufacture in the UK.”
Interestingly many of those British engineers interviewed by Peter Day in the BBC report focus on China’s cheap labor as being the driver for moving up the value chain and automating
Dismissing China as purely a low cost producer a risk as Chinese manufacturers are working hard to move up the value chain as their aging populating erodes their labor advantage.
The last word though for Britain’s engineering sector has to go to Hugh Facey, founder of wire tool company, Gripple.
Both Singapore and the UK are working on establishing their positions in the 21st Century economy; both business owners and individuals have to give some thought on where they want to be.
For manufacturing, the rollout of new technologies means the industry is going to look very different in the next decade. It won’t be the only industry radically changed.