The Changing Face of Manufacturing

Manufacturing. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see or hear this word?

Cambridge dictionary defines manufacturing thus: the business of producing goods in large numbers.

Oxford dictionary’s interpretation is: The making of articles on a large scale using machinery; industrial production.
These definitions are narrow, and are out of sync with time. These ‘traditional’ definitions of manufacturing can no longer be applied to manufacturing anymore.

Manufacturing no longer stands for just ‘making things’. Its definition today entails the entire product life-cycle process from concept to decommissioning/re-purposing. The manufacturing process involves a number of stages such as concept development, concept to solution, detailed design, design substantiation, fabrication, machining, assembly, 3D printing, systems integration, testing, deployment, maintenance and decommissioning/re-purposing.

Moreover, the world of engineering is becoming increasingly connected and collaborative. The various engineering sub-systems such as mechanical, thermal, electrical, sensors and electronics, and software, talk to one another and work in harmony, resulting in a consistent, efficient and effective engineering system.

The increase in computing power, capability, and Internet based connectivity speeds have resulted in the popularity of Computer Aided Engineering and virtual prototyping, where the entire development life-cycle of a product can be seen, altered, and finalised on a computer screen, even before the first component hits the shop floor.

So, given how much activity happens before components arrive at the shop floor, and how much happens once the product has been made, we can no longer look at manufacturing as simply ‘making things’. It entails a lot more than that; it stands for the entire life-cycle of a product. This is how we interpret manufacturing at Equitus Design Engineering and Innovations Limited.

Today in the UK, given how many champions we have, of UK manufacturing, I strongly feel that we must change the way we define and interpret what manufacturing is.

As I close, two questions and an action for you:

  1. Are you a manufacturing organistion?
  2. How do you define manufacturing?
  3. Please type in the comments or via email, what we must do to improve the image of manufacturing.

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