Advantages of using hybrid manufacturing platforms to realize decentralized manufacture
Kendrick, Blake A.
Newman, Stephen T.
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Manufacturing has traditionally been the domain of centralised factories, set-up and optimised to make a sole product or product-range. Whilst the in-house efficacy of such systems has been greatly improved due to lean six-sigma methodologies, the wider scale distribution and supply system has undergone little to no transformation over the past century. Previous research pertaining to distributed manufacture, cloud-manufacture and reconfigurable systems has provided several decentralised models using traditional manufacturing capabilities. Though to date they have not been fully realised due to practical limitations. This paper outlines the scope for hybrid manufacturing platforms â€“ using a plurality of processes on a single motion platform, to manufacture products in a decentralised network. Social, economic and environmental ramifications of adopting such a system under particular use cases, such as in shops, community areas or in individual households, are highlighted. The combination of several key processes, including measurement, will allow users to manufacture parts with minimal intervention. A move to personal fabrication would allow greater personalisation and convenience for the end userhowever, the issues of copyright and loss of economy of scale would inhibit mass uptake in the near-future. Growing interest by enthusiasts and early adopters will continue to make an impact on the way the populace views manufacture.
Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Flexible Automation & Intelligent Manufacturing, held May 20-23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, and organized by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems, University of Texas at San AntonioIncludes bibliographical references