4. 노동력의 보강과 관리
Steelcase 가구 제조 회사는 근로자의 작업 실수를 줄이기위한 비전 테이블 시스템을 도입.
작업자가 해당 단계에서 작업실수를 할 경우 다음 단계로 진행되지 않음. 또 작업들을 실시간으로 분석하고 리포트함.
Simens의 임원은 노동자들의 학력 수준이 과거보다 훨씬 숙련되어 있어야 한다고 함.
디지털화와 사이버 물리 시스템은 근로자의 효율성과 맨파워를 증가시킬 것.
AR과 모바일 디바이스가 작업 메뉴얼을 디지털화 하고 있음
핸즈프리 브라우저는 공장의 퍼포먼스 인디케이터들과 통신할 수 있고, 작업을 지시함. AR은 복잡한 기기 환경을 분석하고 컴퓨터 비전을 이용하여, 실시간 비쥬얼 메뉴얼과 같은 기능을 실행함.
헤드셋 메이커, Inudtrial AR 메이커 회사들이 GE, Boeing 과 같은 회솨와 협력하거나 투자를 받는 사례가 늘거 있음.
AR메이커들은 실시간으로 근로자들이 관련 정보를 받아볼수 있는 방식의 디바이스를 개발중. 글라스 한편에 실시간 웹 브라우저를 띄워 실시간 전문가와 연결.
특수한 작업복이나 안전관리 기술은 더럽고 위험한일이 발생하는 산업현장에서 근로자에게 도움이 되고 있음
사는 EksoVest 수트를 통해 미시간 중의 포드의 자동차 조립 공정에서 작업자들의 목에 스트레스를 덜주는 역할을 하고 있음
(사진과 같이 고개를 들고 작업을 해야하는 작업자들의 목을 지탱해 주는 역할을 하며, 밧데리가 필요없음)
제조사는 완전 자동화되는 작업이 되기전단계로 근로자들에게 도움을 주는 단계라고 인터뷰함
유사하게 근로자가 물건을 드는것을 돕거나, 사고나 부상을 줄일 수 있는 로봇이나 디바이스의 개발이 활발하게 이루어지고 있음
5. 가공, 생산 및 조립
자동화는 위험하고, 더러운, 비생산적인 작업들에 먼저 적용될 것.
이미 많은 일들이 3D프린팅이나 사이버 물리 시스템, 로봇등과 같은 기술들에 의해 대체되고 있음.
로봇은 점점 정확하고, 안전하게 진화하면서 가격은 내려가고 있음.
소비자의 취향도 다양해져 가고 있으며, 제조사들도 이러한 요구를 따라가기 위해 노력하고 있음.
인더스트리 4.0의 비전은 단순히 IoT에 의한 인공지능 공장을 포함하고 있고, 단순히 제품을 생산하는 것을 넘어 소비자의 피드백이나 예지 정보를 통해 생산하는 것을 말함.
커스터마이징이 가능한 모듈러 생산방식
모듈러 생산 방식은 존재하는 공장의 생산방식을 더 유연하게하는데 도움을 줄것.
모듈러 생산 방식은 공장들을 좀 더 커스커마이징에 집중하도록 할것임.
더 작고, 모듈화된 커스터마이징된 제품이 되거나 다양한 형태로 변형이 가능한 장비나 로봇이 될수도 있음.
Vention은 모듈화된 산업용 장비를 주문자 생산 방식으로 제작하고 있음.
소비자가 CAD로 디자인된 장비의 도면을 올리면 3일안에 생산해서 발송.
많은 공장에서 단순한 작업들이 커스텀 머신이나 로봇에 의해 진행되고 있으며, 이 방식은 효율성 개선에 큰 역할을 할 것임.
로봇으로 인한 자동화
로봇은 일자리 감소에 책임이 있지만, 최근 로봇은 근로자들이 작업하던것보다 더 일을 잘하고 있음.
Cobots(Collabotive robots)은 초반 수동으로 움직임이 조작되다가 로봇끼리의 움직임을 카피하고 분석하여 결국 협력을 하는 로봇으로 결국 인간처럼 일을 하게됨.
Airbus와 같은 제조사의 경우 여객기에 수천개의 구멍을 내는 작업을 사람 옆에서 로봇이 작업을 함.
전 세계적인 인건비의 증가로 인해 이미 미국은 리쇼어링( the return of manufacturing to the United States.)이 진행중
2015년 BCG의 조사에 따르면 미국 기업의 24%가 생산 공장을 중국에서 미국으로 옮기는 작업을 진행하거나 진행예정이라고 함.
인건비의 증가는 미국을 좀 더 경쟁력있게 할 것.
로봇틱스는 대당 $24,000로 패키징이나, 분류, 하역 작업 등 단순 작업을 빠르게 대체 할것.
단기적으로 볼때는 로보틱스는 작업자들과 함께 일을 할것이지만, 장기적으로는 Light-out(무인)형태의 공장으로 나아갈 초석이 될것.
커스터마이징이 가능한 모듈러 생산방식
그래프상에서 볼때 3D 프린팅 방식은 사출 성형 방식보다 나을 수 없지만, 소량생산의 경우 이야기가 달라짐.
아디다스의 경우 3D 프린터 업체와 협력하여 조깅화를 생산중이고, 다른 3D 프린팅 업체들도 신발을 생산 중.
앞으로 몇년안에 대량 커스터마이징 생산 부분에서 3D 프린팅이 사용될 것.
많은 스타트업들이 3D Printing의 재료로 탄소섬유나 금속 외에 다양한 물질들로 연구를 진행 중.
몇년 이내에 커스터마이징된 제품들이 대량 생산될수 있는 시대가 올것.
4. Labor augmentation & management
In a recent about furniture maker Steelcase’s production line, humans were described as being solely present to guide automation technology.
Steelcase’s “vision tables,” which are computerized workstations that dictate step-by-step instructions, eliminate human error in assembling furniture. Using sound cues and overhead scanners to track assembly, the system won’t let workers proceed if a step is done incorrectly. Scanners also allow off-site operations engineers to analyze progress in real time.
The New Yorker wrote about Steelcase’s labor management, “A decade ago, industrial robots assisted workers in their tasks. Now workers — those who remain — assist the robots in theirs.”
What manufacturing looks has changed drastically in a short time. As a retired Siemens executive recently , “People on the plant floor need to be much more skilled than they were in the past. There are no jobs for high school graduates at Siemens today.”
But better digitization and cyber-physical technologies are all augmenting the efficiency and manpower available to the workers. Here’s how emerging technology like augmented reality (AR), wearables, and exosuits are fitting in.
AR AND MOBILE ARE DIGITIZING THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL
Augmented reality will be able to boost the skills of industrial worker.
In addition to being a hands-free “browser” that can communicate factory performance indicators and assign work, AR can analyze complicated machine environments and use computer vision to map out a machine’s parts, like a real-time visual manual. This makes highly skilled labor like field service a “downloadable” skill (in a manner not unlike The Matrix).
and are well-funded headset makers that focus on industrial settings. ‘s Skylight platform (below) makes AR for the industrial workforce using Google Glass, Vuzix, ODG, and Realwear headsets. The company raised nearly $50M from the corporate venture arms of Boeing and GE, among other investors.
Many AR makers envision the tech working like a handsfree “internet browser” that allows workers to see real-time stats of relevant information. ‘s wearable display doesn’t aspire to true augmented reality like a Daqri headset, but even a small display in the corner of the eye is fairly robust.
Others like do similar work in field service using mobile and iPad cameras, employing AR to highlight parts on industrial equipment and connecting to support experts in real time. This saves on the travel costs of flying out people to repair broken equipment.
, which works with mobile phones, is a workflow platform that gives out tasks and digitizes data collection, something that is often done with pencil and paper in industrial environments.
As the maxim goes, “what gets measured gets managed,” and in an area where robots are a constant competitive pressure, manufacturing organizations will invest in technologies that digitize human efforts down to each movement.
EXOSUITS & SAFETY TECH WILL BECOME STANDARD IN DIRTY & DANGEROUS JOBS
Exoskeleton technology is finally becoming a reality on factory floors, which could drastically reduce the physical toll of repetitive work. Startups here are making wearable high-tech gear that bear the load alongside a worker’s limbs and back.
, seen below, is piloting its EksoVest suit at Ford Motor Company’s Michigan assembly plants, and workers using the suit have reported less neck stress in their daily demands. The EksoVest reduces wear from repetitive motion and, unlike some competing products, provides lift assistance without batteries or robotics. Ekso’s CTO has said the long-term strategy is to get workers accustomed to the technology before eventually moving into powered exoskeletons.
is another well-known exosuit maker, which has raised from corporates including Schlumberger, Caterpillar, and Microsoft and GE’s venture arms. Sarcos is more strictly focused on remote controlled robotics and powered exoskeletons, which can lift 200 lbs repeatedly. Delta Airlines recently it would join Sarcos’ Technical Advisory Group to pilot the technology.
In similar territory is , which makes posture-measuring and lift-assisting wearables. Strong Arm touts predictive power to intervene before risk of injury or incident, and is positioned as a labor-focused risk management platform.
Where humans are still needed for some dirty and dangerous tasks, wearables and exoskeletons will augment human’s ability to do work while also promoting safety.
5. Machining, Production & Assembly
Automation is coming for dirty, dull, and dangerous jobs first.
Already, many human jobs within the mass-production assembly line have been crowded out by automation. Cyber-physical systems like industrial robotics and 3D printing are increasingly common in the modern factory. Robots have gotten cheaper, more accurate, safer, and more prevalent alongside humans.
Consumer tastes have also broadened, and manufacturers are trying to keep up with increasing demands for customization and variety.
Visions for Industry 4.0 involve a completely intelligent factory where networked machines and products communicate through IoT technology, and not only prototype and assemble a specific series of products, but also iterate on those products based on consumer feedback and predictive information.
MODULAR PRODUCTION ENABLES CUSTOMIZATION
Before we reach a world where humans are largely uninvolved with manufacturing, modular design can help existing factories become more flexible.
Modularity allows the factory to be more streamlined for customization, as opposed to the uniformity that’s traditional for the assembly line. Modularity could come in the form of smaller parts, or modules, that go into a more customizable product. Or it could be equipment, such as swappable end-effectors on robots and machines, allowing for a greater variety of machining.
Presently, mass-production is already refashioning itself to handle consumer demand for greater customization and variety. 90% of auto makers in a BCG said they expect a modular line setup will be relevant in final assembly by 2030. Modular equipment will allow more models to come off the same lines.
Startups are capitalizing on the push toward modular parts.
Seed-stage company makes custom industrial equipment on-demand. Choosing from Vention’s modular parts, all a firm needs to do is upload a CAD design of the equipment they want, and then wait 3 days to be sent specialized tooling or robot equipment. Many existing factories have odd jobs that can be done by a simple cobot (collaborative robot) arm or custom machine, and these solutions will gain momentum as factories everywhere search for ways to improve efficiency.
Modular production will impact any sector offering increased product customization. Personalized medicine, for example, is driving demand for smaller and more targeted batches. In pharmaceutical manufacturing, modularity allows processors to produce a variety of products, with faster changeovers.
ROBOTICS AUTOMATE THE ONCE-ODD JOBS
Industrial robotics are responsible for eroding manufacturing jobs, which have been on the decline for decades. As a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch explains: “long robots, short humans.”
But the latest wave of robotics seems to be augmenting what a human worker can accomplish.
Cobots (collaborative robots) are programmable through assisted movement. They “learn” by first being moved manually and then copying the movement moving forward. These robots are considered collaborative because they can work alongside humans.
Whether these are truly collaborative or rendering human labor redundant remains to be seen. After a Nissan plant in Tennessee added autonomous guided vehicles, no material handlers were laid off with the increased productivity. European aircraft manufacturer Airbus also a mobile robot, which works alongside humans to drill thousands of holes into passenger jets.
While even the best robots still have limitations, economists fear that automation will eventually lead to a drastic restructuring of labor.
Due to rising labor costs worldwide, robotics are presently causing a new wave of re-shoring — the return of manufacturing to the United States.
In a 2015 by BCG, 24% of US-based manufacturers surveyed said that they were actively shifting production back to the US from China, or were planning to do so over the next two years — up from only 10% in 2012. The majority said lower automation costs have made the US more competitive.
Robotics have become invaluable for monotonous jobs such as packaging, sorting, lifting repeatedly. Cobot manufacturer says some of its robot arms pay for themselves in 195 days on average. As a whole, the category of collaborative robots are on average at $24,000 apiece.
We’ve previously identified more than 80 robotics startups, but for heavy-duty machining, significant market share is taken by big industrials players like ABB, Mitsubishi, Fanuc, and Yaskawa.
In the near term, the reprogrammable nature of cobots will allow manufacturing firms to become more customized and work in parallel with existing equipment and employees. On a longer time horizon, however, robotics will be the engine for moving towards “lights-out” manufacturing.
For certain mass-produced items, 3D printing will never beat the economies of scale seen in injection molding. But for smaller runs, fulfillment using additive manufacturing will make sense.
Using metal additive manufacturing for one-third of components, GE made an that burns 15% less fuel than previous designs. GE says it will begin testing the Cessna Denali engine for potential flight tests in 2018.
Manufacturers will increasingly turn to 3D printing as mass-customization takes off within certain consumer products.
Shoes have become one popular use case to watch. For example, Adidas has partnered with Carbon to mass-print custom athletic shoes. Additionally, other 3D printing services companies like and have positioned themselves specifically for the shoe use case.
Just a few years from now, it may be more commonplace to see mass-customized parts in consumer electronics, apparel, and other accessories — all brought to you by 3D printing. Additionally, if rocket-printing startup is any indication, the technology will also be applied to building large-scale industrial print jobs.
Industrial 3D printing is the hottest segment within the broader space, and that include carbon fiber or other metals with exotic properties.