Production & Design: facing challenges together

Production & Design: facing challenges together

This "liquid society", where we are living, means that we must always be making a continuous and significant effort to "keep up" and at the same time it represents a huge opportunity and motivation to continue improving and innovating.

This is the case with current production models which are undergoing a perhaps unprecedented transformation process. New technologies, from automation to virtual reality, grouped under the definition of Industry 4.0, offer never-before-seen potential. The first and most direct consequence will be to radically transform production, making it extremely more efficient. It will also be possible to transform relationships with customers and offer increasingly customized products and services. The companies that can adapt and exploit these new possibilities will stand out from the norm.

An Industrial Designer is the ideal partner because he has the necessary skills to cope with the new challenges. Offering "out-of-the-ordinary" products will be key to achieving market shares but, even more important will be understanding production needs and developing products to not only adapt to this, but which can also make the most of it and reduce waste.

Industry 4.0: reshaping the way things are made

The expression Industry 4.0 encompasses all the technologies that are transforming the traditional production paradigm. The term was used for the first time in 2011, in Germany and in fewer than 10 years, widespread usage transformed it into a fundamental concept for all companies wishing to remain competitive.

There are nine enabling technologies, or pillars to what is considered the fourth industrial revolution. 

Automated Production

One of the most interesting aspects is automated production: driven by increasingly advanced robots capable of improving themselves.

If automation has always had multiple advantages for a company, first and foremost in terms of costs thanks to higher productivity and reduced waste, industrial robots are the perfect solution for carrying out operations that are dangerous for humans or routines that require precision and concentration over a long time. Added to this is the ability to meet the needs of individual customers, and not only of categories, with customized products, by means of a mass customization approach with more flexible value chains. The use of increasingly intelligent machines and the availability of a huge amount of data on customers allow us to better understand their desires.Not least in terms of importance is the enormous potential of automation from a social point of view. The natural phenomenon of the expected technological unemployment of each period of change, is accompanied by the birth of new professions with countless possibilities for future generations.

On average, about 30% of the activities performed in each job are technically automatable and this will make it possible to further concentrate "human" skills in more complex and value-creating activities.

Future Perspectives

The robotics sector is growing constantly and is expected to expand rapidly in the coming years, both in Italy and abroad. Automation will be one of the fundamental drivers to remain competitive and continue to grow.

The cost of advanced industrial robots is expected to decrease, while their performance should steadily improve. This will greatly facilitate the process of acceptance even by smaller companies. In fact, companies in the future may be completely automated: there are already many examples of factories operating with the lights off, where production is handled by robots.

This future scenario will have a huge impact on the life of the company. Variable costs will decrease exponentially thanks to the savings from labor and reduced consumption. Finally, it will be essential to integrate all the technologies available to us, thus transforming every aspect of the value chain. Design, production and sales must be based on a common, modern strategy capable of exploiting the technologies available on the market. 

Humans will have to develop a propensity for change by developing new creative and problem solving skills. In the same way, companies will have to rely on design capable of improving and simplifying production processes for ever-changing needs. Investing in the skills necessary to face this change will therefore be essential if one wants to become a future leader.

How have we faced up to these challenges? You will soon find out!

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