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I visited the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry for a Digitalising Manufacturing Conference, where I had the chance to discuss the benefits that digital manufacturing can bring to manufacturing businesses, and also some of the roadblocks to its full adoption in the UK.

Impact of Digital Manufacturing

Carlos Lopez Gomez discussed the results of an Innovate UK funded study into the impacts of Digital Manufacturing globally. The study is aiming to collect and analyse evidence on the potential improvements from digital manufacturing. Most predictions of improved manufacturing productivity have focussed on expected, rather than observed impacts. So this Study is to provide some evidence-based research on actual improvements.

Few countries have reported data on observed impact, however, both Singapore and Korea have reported improvements of 30% manufacturing efficiency by adopting digital manufacturing technologies.

Business Value

Businesses surveyed in the report were asked what they found were the biggest business impacts of digital technologies on their business. They reported three key benefits:

  • Increased Revenue.
  • Reduced Costs.
  • Reduce Working Capital.

Business ValueHow Digital Manufacturing Helped
Increased Revenue• Increased Profit Margin
• Increased Sales of Existing Products
• Improved Product Performance
• Increased Customer Satisfaction
• Reduced Time to Market

Reduced Costs • Increased Manufacturing Efficiency
• Reduce Defects & Errors
• Reduce Maintenance Costs
• Improved Delivery Performance
• Reduce Equipment Commissioning & Tooling

Reduced Working Capital• Reduced Inventory

Business Value in Applications of Digital Manufacturing
Source: IfM

Manufacturers found that the biggest improvements came from reduced materials & labour costs, reduced defects & errors, increased output, and improved delivery performance.

In the manufacturing projects we’ve worked on we have helped Husco International to achieve their goal of zero defects manufacturing, and Mettler Toledo to improve their delivery performance by reducing production lead times. You can read the full case studies here.

Applications & Solutions

Businesses reported on digital manufacturing applications and solutions that led to the largest business impact. They found that the definition of manufacturing processes led to the biggest impact in reducing labour costs. An example of this would be defining a repeatable work process and using digital work instructions to ensure operators can quickly and repeatably follow the process.

The study also reported that manufacturers had achieved reduced costs by diminishing defects and errors in the manufacturing process. This was accomplished through good design and definition of the manufacturing process. Our clients use Tascus to guide operators through complex manufacturing processes. They use quality checks and inspection throughout, to ensure that defects and errors are eliminated.

Business ImprovementMost Impactful Technology Solutions
Reduction of Labour Costs• Process Design & Definition
• Resource Management
• Product design & definition
Reduction in Material Costs• Process design & definition
• Product development
• Process control & optimisation
Reduction of Defects and Errors• Product design definition
• Staff and workflow management
• Process design & definition
Increased Outputs• Packaging & Shipping
• Process control & optimisation
• Assembly

Improved Delivery Performance• Staff & workflow management
• Product & service quality management
• Production control & planning

We’ve worked with many manufacturers over the past 8 years, to implement business improvements in all of these areas. Our product Tascus helps manufacturers to increase outputs and reduce defects and errors in the manufacturing process.

You can read the full report here.