Industry 4.0: Changing the Way the World Designs and Manufactures

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Industry 4.0: Changing the Way the World Designs and Manufactures

by Stephen Nigro, President, 3D Printing Business, HP Inc.

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#Industry40 is Changing the Way the World Designs and Manufactures @HP @HPSustainable #IoT
Monday, February 6, 2017 - 9:45am

CAMPAIGN: HP, Inc. | Integrity


History shows us that emerging technologies have influenced previous industrial revolutions, unlocking new possibilities that advance the human race and unleashing unprecedented economic potential.

Whether harnessing the power of water and steam to mechanize production, using electricity to create mass production or designing electronics and IT to automate production, the only constant in the ever-evolving manufacturing landscape is the role of emerging technology as an opportunity for reinvention.

We’re on the cusp of a new industrial revolution, one that promises to be greater and more disruptive than any that has come before. The blending of the digital and physical worlds through 3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, and other digital manufacturing technologies will profoundly change the way we live, work, and interact with one another.

Are we ready for it? Can our thinking keep pace with the rapid technological changes? I went to England — birthplace of the first industrial revolution — to find out.

When earlier this year, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, issued a call-to-action seeking input on the challenges and opportunities presented by what he calls the fourth industrial revolution.  HP answered the call.

Following the TCT Show and the evening before the Financial Times Future of Manufacturing Summit, HP brought together some of the brightest minds among key stakeholders in the global community to examine in greater depth the role 3D printing will play in manufacturing. It was a night of lively discussion and debate about the convergence of our digital and physical worlds, the impact that will have on economic growth, and the potential implications for business and society.

The top takeaways from our dinner included the following:

  • Workforce & skills: We as a society must invest in digital transformation. Digital manufacturing has the potential to disrupt the $12 trillion global manufacturing industry and create immense new wealth, but new skills are needed as new jobs displace old ones. A new emphasis on education, training, and job transition planning is essential. 
  • Supply chain & sustainability: The supply chain will become more localized as 3D printing moves digital manufacturing closer to the places where products are consumed. Supply chains will be more efficient, with improved delivery and margin protection. Energy savings promise to be substantial as the need to ship products diminishes, with huge potential for a positive impact on the environment.
  • International trade & taxation: The internet is creating an increasingly borderless society. The concept of imports and exports changes when products travel not on trucks, trains, and container ships but rather via digital files as 1s and 0s, only to take shape in a 3D printer at the destination.  Does the transmission of a CAD file constitute an export? Which state or nation gets to tax it?

The following day, still energized by the previous evening’s discussion, I was honored to sit down for a Q&A session with Peter Marsh and the Financial Times at the FT Future of Manufacturing Summit. We talked about the shape of the industry, HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology, Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions, strategic partnerships, and the significance of the HP Open Platform.

Peter and I also addressed one of the questions on everyone’s mind: How soon will this transformation happen?  How long will it take to move from prototyping to production? My answer was simple: faster than you might think! The adoption of 3D printing and additive manufacturing will accelerate as the business case continues to grow, as material costs go down and productivity goes up.

HP looks forward to addressing the challenges to be presented by Klaus at next year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. We’re leading the way in 3D printing technology and the next industrial revolution, and we welcome the opportunity a convener as we plan for the socioeconomic changes to come. I hope you’ll join with me, our HP 3D Printing team, and other industry leaders on this journey of manufacturing reinvention, which promises to reshape the way the world designs and manufactures.

If you’re not familiar with HP’s 3D Printing business and leadership, check out the 3D Printing website and press kit to learn more.

Keywords: Innovation & Technology | Business Ethics | Environment | HP | Industry 4.0 | IoT | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Responsible Production & Consumption

CAMPAIGN: HP, Inc. | Integrity