Given the worldwide economic recession, manufacturers are under pressure to become more resourceful and agile. As a result, companies are starting to take a serious look at the value of incorporating more simulation and visualization into design-to-production processes so that they can see and test production setups before actually making new production investments.
Technology vendors are taking note and introducing products that move manufacturing closer to the virtual reality of the digital factory.
While industry experts say we are still some years away from technology tools that support a soup-to-nuts digital manufacturing environment, many vendors are coming up with point solutions that offer ways to close the loop between the design of a product and actual production. Vendors are finding, however, that integrating those point solutions into a unified whole is a challenge, in part because the software programs that drive the different domains--CAD and control--usually haven't been designed to communicate with one another. In addition, an integrated digital factory environment must be able to manage the information that's generated by the different applications involved. That's why product lifecycle management is an important application to include in the digital factory discussion.
Source: Managing Automation
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