Image Posted on Updated on
Microfactories: The Next Industrial Revolution based on 3D Printing
Over half a century, computers have reduced in size from machines that were as big as a house to machines that can be carried in a pocket. Besides as the computers have become smaller they have become more and more powerful. A computer in a phone that can be carried in a pocket is orders of magnitude more powerful than the computers of the past that were as big as a house.
There is a similar trend in manufacturing thanks to 3D printing. Car factories need a large amount of space, huge machinery, and a large number of workers to make cars. This is so because different machinery is needed for making each part of car. However, companies such as local motors have started the trend of microfactories. Together, these machineries need a huge amount of space and a large number of workers. Now, a 3D printer can make most of the parts of a car. Some of the complex parts are imported. But the overall manufacturing of the car can be performed in a small location with only few workers. Such manufacturing facilities are called microfactories. These microfactories can be established closer to cities and create local jobs. They reduce distribution costs and are therefore environmentally friendly. Also cars can be manufactured to suit local needs. Local motors has already opened microfactories in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Crystal City, VA. Local motors aims at opening 100 microfactories in next 10 years.
Another car manufacturer Divergent Microfactories is establishing microfactories to make 3D printed cars.
Strati: a 3D printed car from local motors.
Kevin Czinger, CEO of Divergent Microfactories showing a prototype 3D printed car.