Centralized factory dominance has led to optimization and set-up for manufacture of a sole product or product-range. In-house efficacy of such systems has been greatly improved due to lean six-sigma methodologies; however, wider scale distribution and supply has undergone little to no transformation over the past century. Research pertaining to distributed manufacture, cloud-manufacture and reconfigurable systems have provided several decentralized models using traditional manufacturing capabilities. Due to practical limitations they have not been fully realized to date. This paper outlines the emerging concept and scope for hybrid manufacturing platforms - systems using a plurality of processes on a single motion platform, to manufacture products in a decentralized network. Necessity of on-machine inspection is highlighted, outlining the potential of generic artifact machine calibration and verification of parts made. A robust experimental method using a novel hybrid manufacturing approach is used to realize the post-process adaptation of subsequent parts and demonstrates significant improvement with adapted features being cut within 15. μm of nominal position, compared to the original 300. μm error. Social, economic and environmental ramifications of adopting such a system are highlighted. The combination of several key processes will allow users to manufacture parts with minimal intervention. A move to personal fabrication would allow greater customization and convenience for the end user; however, 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.
- Adaptive tool path
- Artifact calibration
- Decentralized manufacture
- Hybrid manufacture
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- Centre for Autonomous Robotics (CENTAUR)
- Advanced Design & Manufacturing @ Bath (ADM)
- Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation
- Department of Mechanical Engineering - Deputy Head of Department
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