Digital manufacturing refers to the manufacturing process that uses computer systems. Due to the recent advancement in the information and communication technology (ICT) field, digital manufacturing is growing in a rapid manner and the manufacturing industry is adopting it in a large scale. Specifically, the emergence of cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought a new wave towards digitalisation in the manufacturing industry, which brought us to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0.
Overall, digital manufacturing has changed the way products can be manufactured and sold. For example, manufacturers can offer their production capabilities (e.g. 3D printing) on a pay-as-you-go basis over the cloud, instead of selling pre-defined products. In digital manufacturing, such services are termed as Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS). Manufacturing industry has already started adopting the MaaS business model, for example, 3D hubs, Shapeways, Materialise, and Sculpteo offer 3D printing services on-demand basis. Using these services, customers can obtain customised 3D printed products at low cost.
Digital Manufacturing in Blind Watchmaker
While Blind Watchmaker aims to bring innovation in engineering design by proposing gene-inspired algorithms, it also focuses on reducing the computational complexity of the algorithms and building an Industry 4.0 compliant manufacturing framework. Specifically, Blind Watchmaker envisions a cloud-based manufacturing framework that can take customers’ design requests online and deliver the manufactured product after going through a cloud-based design and review process.