Advanced Manufacturing vs. Traditional Manufacturing

Advanced Manufacturing vs. Traditional Manufacturing

The term, advanced manufacturing, is much used, but defining what this means isn’t as straightforward as one might think. As technology becomes ever more intertwined with virtually every element of production, the lines between old-school manufacturing and its cutting-edge alternative become further blurred.

However, there are clear differences between the two. To understand what these are, we first need to look at a brief definition of both types.

Traditional manufacturing: The large-scale production of parts and/or goods using labour, machinery, tools, biological and chemical processes.

Advanced manufacturing: While the end goal is similar – to create products and/or parts – this utilises innovative technologies and methodologies to dramatically streamline the process.

The advantages of the latter are many, including:

  • Reducing production times
  • Enhancing output
  • Increased quality
  • Offers customisation and flexibility

Traditional manufacturing typically relies on plant and production lines that, once set up, pump out identical products as per the original brief. This works for predictable long-run production but offers little or no scope to easily change.

Advanced manufacturing, on the other hand, can easily accommodate customisation. This makes it far more suitable for short runs of highly bespoke production. This dynamic ability is made possible through various technologies, including the use of advanced materials, 3D printing, laser printing, computer modelling, laser machining, robotics, online capability, nanotechnology and more. It also requires a more highly skilled labour force and is changing the landscape and dynamics of the industry to a degree not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

To further define the difference between traditional and advanced manufacturing, it’s useful to look at the contrasts between the two.

  • Traditional manufacturing is typically organised in a hierarchical way, as opposed to the flat and open flow of information seen in an advanced model
  • Traditional manufacturing is used for mass production vs. advanced being wholly customisable according to needs
  • The skilled-unskilled (or semi-skilled) ratio for advanced manufacturing is dramatically weighted towards skilled staff – the direct opposite of what’s seen in the traditional model
  • Those who work in the advanced manufacturing sector are far more likely to be degree educated, as opposed to the on-the-job or vocational training more typically seen with workers in traditional manufacturing plants
  • The production methods used in traditional manufacturing tend to revolve around areas, such as welding, casting, moulding, brazing, machining etc. Advanced manufacturing brings technology into play, such as 3D printing, computer modelling, laser printing and robotics

This new era of manufacturing is efficient, cost-effective, dynamic, intelligent and flexible.

For industries, such as robotics, engineering, subsea, pharmaceutical, medical, aeronautical and electric vehicles, the ability to rapidly produce prototypes and proof of concepts without the need for excessive upfront investment is revolutionary. As technology continues to push boundaries, so the need for advanced manufacturing capabilities will continue to grow.

Partnering with an advanced manufacturing specialist is key to helping your business explore innovative possibilities and easily produce precision parts that can be tweaked and changed as needed.

Precision engineering and CNC machining experts, Sixde, is leading the way in the field of advanced manufacturing. They specialise in customer collaboration, enabling rapid turnaround from concept to finished parts, helping enterprises of all sizes scale up production, efficiency and output to advance their business.

Contact us today to speak to a member of our expert team.