Introduction to industry 4.0 and its current challenges
Industry 4.0 is a combination of a digital, automated, and connected manufacturing process. Manufacturing becomes more and more complex, as the supply chain becomes international and interdependent. Thus, manufacturing is looking for digital technologies and data-driven solutions to fully digitalize the production process and manage in a sustainable way the resources.
The industrial sector has evolved from the manufacturing of single products to massive and bigger production during the last two centuries and is currently focused on mass production of customized specific components. This product life cycle development and production lack further and better production and quality control flexibility.
To achieve this goal of flexibility in the manufacturing process of a product, industry 4.0 is evolving and taking advantage of various methods such as computing, communications, process automation, etc. Responsive and agile manufacturing systems are about to emerge which rely on innovative production techniques and rely on continuous measurement and product verification all along the manufacturing process.
For example, additive manufacturing (AM) in particular enables unrivaled design flexibility, limited only by material choices and manufacturing approaches. Non-destructive inspection technologies such as X-ray computed tomography (CT), used for 3D characterization of all internal and external features of industrial components, assemblies, and material samples, are a must in order to face these challenges. In addition, it helps to save valuable resources by giving a new way to fully inspect and validate in a non-destructive way manufactured components.