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Generalized technology vs. purpose-built

Graham Immerman
May 24, 2019

Generalized technologies are becoming more popular, in some cases they are actually replacing purpose-built options. 

Forbes reported, "One of the core opportunities of Industry 4.0 is the development and increasing availability of generalized solutions that in the past had to be purpose-built. These generalized solutions are inherently more scalable and are connected by default."

Examples of this include 3D printing and mult-purpose robots. Having flexibility with machines can help increase efficiency, plus one machine that does five jobs often takes up less space than five machines. 

Industry 4.0: Generalized Technologies Replace Purpose-Built Ones On The Factory FloorSource: http://www.forbes.com

Instead of investing in the development of general purpose machines that do basic operations (screw in screws, attach labels, combine part A and part B, etc), manufacturers pushed systems integrators for purpose-built equipment to attach a specific label or to combine two specific parts.Benefits of Generalization and Looking Ahead The generalization of tooling, machines, and inspection are awesome dividends from the technological investments the manufacturing industry is making on its path to Industry 4.0.Read More

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