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How can mechanical engineers catch up with the waves of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet?

Posted by: Yoyokuo 2021-09-27 Comments Off on How can mechanical engineers catch up with the waves of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet?

Now is no longer an era where you simply provide a device and you are done. It is an era where product suppliers are required to provide solutions. The device is only the carrier of your manufacturing solutions, just one of the functional components, and more importantly you. Whether it can provide solutions that are valuable to customers. This not only tests the manufacturing capabilities of a product supplier, but also tests their depth and adaptability to the industry, and also puts forward higher requirements for their resource integration capabilities.

Check the stage of industrial development your company is currently in. To put it more bluntly, take a look at how many of your processing equipment are numerical control equipment and how many are intelligent automation equipment? If the proportion of CNC equipment and automation equipment is very small, then I am sorry, you are still wandering about Industry 2.0, and you are still a thousand miles away from the so-called Industry 4.0. It is more realistic to fill the gap. If your company’s manufacturing equipment has basically achieved numerical control and automation, congratulations, you already have a good hardware foundation to promote “Made in China 2025”. The next step is to do two aspects of industrial automation and industrial informatization. Fusion will do.

But in fact, no matter what the TMD industry is, as long as the industry is to produce real objects, it needs machines. As long as the industry produces physical objects for one day, the mechanical engineer is the backbone of the factory.

Mechanical engineers are the ones who led the previous industrial revolutions. How can they be dragged down here and become “how can we keep up with the trend of Industry 4.0”?

People who can promote Taoism are not Taoists

Many people would just scream, persuade them to retreat from machinery, switch to IT, and look down on the general trend of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 requires interdisciplinary and cross-professional experts in various fields to work together. Among them, mechanical engineers are the most important. There is no mechanical engineer, and it depends on how other majors do it.

Those who learn machinery should not be conceited, and should not be fooled by some unsteady people.

But it is no wonder that this happens. Most people, including me before, have a big deviation in the understanding of Industry 4.0, which leads to a deviation in the positioning of mechanical engineers.

Let’s take a look at whether mechanical engineers are as unbearable as many people think in the history of the industrial revolution.

The invention of the industrial 1.0 steam engine, ship, train loom machine tool, is the supreme honor of mechanical engineers. The Jacquard programmable jacquard machine, the predecessor of the punch card computer, is also a masterpiece of French mechanical engineers.

Industrial 2.0 factory assembly line plus electrification, mechanical engineers are the main force. The ancestor of computers, IBM’s Horowitz machine, is also a mechanical computing machine designed for population statistics based on the principle of the punch card of the Jacquard jacquard machine.

Industrial 3.0 mechatronics CNC NC plus computer CAD CAM informatization, mechanical engineers are still a key role, and they have not left behind. Do you think NC and CAD can do it without a mechanical engineer? At the beginning of NC numerical control, Parsons used the IBM accounting punch card computer in the factory to calculate the coordinate points of the processing curve, and then used the punch card computer to send the coordinate point numbers to the motor motor for execution. Later, it slowly used electron tubes, transistors, and integrated circuits. Control until computer control. Now everyone looks at CNC as programming, forgetting the contributions of mechanical engineers.

Industry 4.0 proposed by Germany. Germany’s strongest is machinery and automation. They are very good at it. Therefore, Industry 4.0 is still centered on machinery and automation. If you look at the German Smartfactorykl Industry 4.0 Demonstration Project, you will understand that machinery and automation are the masters. Informatization above OPC UA is called the integration layer and the information layer in their five-tier architecture. In contrast, the US Industrial Internet is dominated by software big data artificial intelligence. Therefore, it is most suitable for mechanical engineers to engage in Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is the supporting technology for the future large-scale personalized production of MPP. Important technical driving forces such as flexible production modules, flexible factory internal logistics transmission systems, cobot robot man-machine collaboration, 3D printing, virtual reality/augmented reality, I think all It is also the territory where mechanical engineers are best.

Most people have a misunderstanding that Industry 4.0 = Intelligent Manufacturing = Big Data + Artificial Intelligence + Simulation + Internet of Things Network Security. The reason for coming to this point of view is all because of some marketing articles. I admit these are very important.

However, in the large-scale personalized production under Industry 4.0, there is no modular processing machine designed by mechanical engineers and flexible standardized product logistics belts. How to quickly adjust the production line to adapt to the new product model changes? Rely on artificial intelligence or big data analysis or simulation? Without the 3D design of mechanical engineers, how can we do production guided by the augmented reality of Digital Chemical Man 4.0? Without a mechanical engineer, how to make a cobot robot that is safe and will not harm the workers next to it? Without mechanical engineers, how can automation engineers do preventive maintenance of machine tools? Without the fixtures and manipulators designed by mechanical engineers, how can software engineers quickly collect the data of electronic components in batches for quality control?

They have a stubborn misconception in their minds. They think that machinery is dead and stupid and can only move back and forth, which is a derogatory term, and software is living and intelligent. In fact, they don’t know that the essence of machinery is the straight-and-steel algorithm in time motion realized by humans using precise space geometry, material science and tolerance theory. They also don’t know that the programmable punch card computer still in use decades ago is essentially a mechanical jacquard machine. They don’t even know that the CPU is essentially a crystal-driven, mechanized, highly pipelined data processing plant that is more advanced than Industry 4.0 (instructions are also data).

Without the cooperation of mechanical engineers, automation engineers and software engineers still cannot do anything in the Industry 4.0 era.

Industrial production, mechanical engineering is equivalent to the bones and muscles of a factory, electricity is equivalent to blood vessels, and automation and information software is equivalent to the nervous system. No one can say that system combat is more important.

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