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The fourth industrial revolution promises a paradigm shift to industry and society. The combination of cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing...
Cyclical change occurs in industry when novel and innovative technologies and methodologies start to transform and disrupt existing industrial practices. The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 in common parlance is one such cyclical change that we are current in the midst of. It can be loosely defined as the introduction of automation and data exchange to create self governing manufacturing systems illustrated below.
Labour costs have begun to rise making automation more attractive and threatening job security. Focus has also shifted from mass produced products to customised products particularly in the field of consumer products. Fortunately, 3D printing is able to mitigate these changes and allow manufacturing to shift from traditional to advanced production.
In 2011, an article in the Economist noted that 3D printing “makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands”. This simple yet profound description best describes the disruptive potential of 3D printing and why everyone is clamouring to jump on the 3D printing bandwagon.
A team of talented engineering students from Melbourne University have 3D printed a lightweight titanium drone that will resist high temperatures and fight bushfires. Made...