Research Papers

Transforming the Landscape of Manufacturing: Distributed Manufacturing Based on Desktop Manufacturing (DM)2

[+] Author and Article Information
R. E. DeVor

Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 West Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801redevor@illinois.edu

S. G. Kapoor

Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 West Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801sgkapoor@illinois.edu

J. Cao

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208jcao@northwestern.edu

K. F. Ehmann

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208k-ehmann@northwestern.edu

Ken Olsen, the founder of DEC (whom Bill Gates had idolized as a teenager), had been debunking the PC since 1977, when he told a convention of the World Future Society, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” This famously mistaken judgment meant that DEC would later have to make a massive attempt to catch up, and it eventually led to Olsen’s ouster from the company. DEC was later acquired by Compaq.

This figure was developed by Professor Jun Ni of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 134(4), 041004 (Jul 18, 2012) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006095 History: Received May 24, 2011; Revised January 19, 2012; Published July 18, 2012; Online July 18, 2012

This paper examines a new paradigm in the world of manufacturing—distributed manufacturing based on desktop manufacturing (DM)2 . The evolution of (DM)2 began in the last decade of the 20th century and its technological development is well underway, as is evidenced by a World Technology Evaluation Center study (www.wtec.org). However, as managers begin to assess the competitive advantages of moving to this manufacturing model it will be important to consider the social and environmental implications of this paradigm shift as well as issues related to materials and energy utilization. The factors that now appear to be driving the need for radical departures from the more traditional manufacturing paradigms have been broadly articulated but the longer-term future of this manufacturing model is less clear. Several scenarios are proposed and discussed that suggest how manufacturing will shift to a more distributed model via the concept of desktop manufacturing (DM), which will coexist with the centralized manufacturing model but likely take on a greater and greater share of the total manufacturing market worldwide. Spurred on by the rapid emergence of miniaturization technologies, the development and refinement of these desktop manufacturing scenarios needs to be examined in the context of a number of important socioeconomic, environmental, and materials and energy utilization issues as (DM)2 continues to evolve as a transforming paradigm for the world of manufacturing. Scientific, technical, and economic barriers and challenges are identified and discussed.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Manufacturing
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Manufacturing: past, present, and future

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Slim Lathe by Takamaz (300 W × 1225 L mm)

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Modular DTF by Bosch Rexroth

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On-demand MEMS DTF under development at AIST

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Microfactory developed at UIUC

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Spin bearing for a guidance system

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Microlution’s DTF under development

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Microfactory plug-and-play architectures



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