The next phase in manufacturing sees 3D visualisation systems at the heart of more efficient, cheaper, highly customisable goods. By Louis Loh, Sales Leader for DELMIA at Dassault Systèmes
Louis Loh is the Sales Leader for DELMIA, AP South, at Dassault Systèmes. He is a technical professional with over 10 years of cumulative experience in innovation, processes and improvement-oriented functions. He is especially skilled in sales and customer relationship development in the semiconductor, solar energy, consumer packaged goods and retail manufacturing sectors.
Prior to joining Dassault Systèmes, he held regional roles in Heraeus Shin-Etsu Quartz, SK Hynix and Kenseidou. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia and is proficient in Japanese.
Today’s manufacturing businesses are grappling with integrating traditional manufacturing models with the constantly evolving industry landscape. Consumers, now offered with more choices and easy access to information in an increasingly digital world, have higher expectations and demand more variety as well as personalised products. Manufacturers also face more intense competition and increased pressure as they simultaneously struggle to battle the challenges of customers’ shortened attention span.
Advancements in digital technology, however, are introducing new opportunities to manufacturers, allowing them to be more effective than ever before in engaging consumers. For instance, the use of three-dimensional (3D) visualisation and simulation technology has allowed manufacturers to analyse processes with less trial and error. Computerised manufacturing methods are also allowing companies to improve time-to-market and develop personalised and more cost-effective products to differentiate themselves.
The biggest advantage that digital manufacturing presents nonetheless is in its potential in empowering mass customisation—one of the fastest growing areas in both healthcare and luxury goods.
Customised Healthcare Equipment
In the world of medical science and healthcare, scientists are researching and constantly making discoveries on new or more effective cures, drugs and treatment methods. Medical equipment are sometimes very quickly made redundant as treatment method changes. As such, there is a need for medical equipment and products to evolve quickly and keep pace in developments in treatment methods.
Digital manufacturing allows medical equipment manufacturers to make small precision changes to product designs before testing and actual production. This helps manufacturers reduce cost and shorten the process from design concept to ready product. More importantly, it can make a world of difference to patients as the latest and newest in medical treatment can be made available much faster.
Furthermore, digital simulation can help manufacturers eliminate the need for early prototypes, significantly reducing costs. Traditionally, prototypes are needed as designers refine their designs as the final product takes shape. The associated tooling or moulds required can be prohibitively expensive and frequently only suitable for a limited production run. By using digital simulation, more accurate tooling requirements can be determined, ensuring that even if a product is mass produced, these costs are kept to a minimum.
Digital manufacturing also offers the flexibility for manufacturers to create ultra-personalised products at a comparatively lower cost than before. In healthcare, ultra-personalized products are especially useful for areas such as prosthetics. Prosthesis are often custom-built for individuals to ensure fit and comfort. With digital manufacturing, prosthesis can be better designed and built to be form fitting. Furthermore, new 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, technologies are now increasingly being adopted to further improve on product availability and cost.
Tailor-Made Luxury Goods
The luxury goods market is another area where mass customisation in manufacturing is fast taking shape. This is largely driven by a burgeoning middle class in the Asia Pacific region as affluent consumers are driving up demand for unique products or products that are in ‘limited edition’.. High-end brands often offer customers the option to personalise their products or print their initials on products to meet the demand for customised offerings.
As the middle class population in Asia Pacific continues to grow (APAC will be responsible for two-thirds of the global middle class by 2030), rapid and mass customisation can help luxury labels capture more market share.
3D visualisation allow designers to envision styles to scale, creating with greater ease in manufacturing variations to meet consumer demand. Australian brand Shoes of Prey, which uses 3D systems to create unique designs of almost any size, colour and style imaginable – ready for purchase online in two weeks. The company wastes less resources compared to traditional mass production models, and reduces its exposure by reducing the risk of overstocking potentially unpopular products.
Here, 3D printers also offer cost-saving options for luxury and consumer goods manufacturers. DELMIA Digital Manufacturing capabilities extend visualization beyond the product into manufacturing—providing the ability to simulate manufacturing processes. Through product analysis capabilities, the product creation process can be further simplified, which helps to eliminate prototypes or extensive testing, brands can use the decreased lead time to vary their designs.
Personalised Products For Tomorrow
Digital technology is the new driving force behind a consistently evolving manufacturing industry. Currently, digital manufacturing is delivering a significant impact in customized products making them more accessible and available.
Eventually, digital technology will drive sustained disruption and innovation, bringing about major transformation in field of manufacturing. Manufacturers that do not adopt digital technologies will soon be outpaced by those that do. Early digital adopters will spend less, respond to market changes faster, increase their overall efficiency, and have a better chance at becoming an industry leader.
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