2020 was the year in which we accelerated the adoption of digital (communication) tools in our work environment. We achieved this faster than expected and at a global scale. We had, and probably still have, enough momentum to rethink and improve upon the previously-accepted inefficiencies in our industrial landscape.
Stock programmes and supply chains are being reviewed. The issues of cost, reliability, quality, resilience, customer service, and more, suddenly featured prominently on the agendas of many industrial stakeholders. The real value of certain technologies has rapidly become very apparent, as have the challenges related to their adoption.
Digital technologies and additive manufacturing (AM) in particular are revolutionising our industrial landscape. These changes require new engineering and management skills to exploit fully and sustainably the benefits offered by these advanced technologies, such as AM. With the current talent shortage, new education programmes are needed to deliver a skilled, capable, flexible and adaptable workforce.
Existing design, engineering and management courses in the fields of production and manufacturing do not systematically deliver the necessary skills and knowledge for effectively deploying AM technologies. New or optimized education programmes are necessary to address the current skill gap as well as barriers to AM adoption and exploitation. Schools, universities and many other learning initiatives should offer up-to-date programmes, and achieving this requires close collaboration. Orientation and reorientation of students and employees can only deliver satisfactory results when industrial companies work closely together with education programme providers.
With the ‘Additive is Addictive’ competition, we aim to create connections between different stakeholders. We believe the projects conducted within the framework of the competition can serve as useful collaborative learning experiences for AM education. At the same time, the competition or course (depending on how you look at it) demonstrates the potential of AM technologies as forming part of an innovative environment.
Want to get some AM inspiration? Take a look at part 3 in our Additive is Addictive online videos!