New manufacturing: networked and open source
There is a new kid on the block in manufacturing: making – or personal digital fabrication and the maker movement. It has grown exponentially over the past ten years. While making is often just a hedonistic pass-time activity, it is attracting growing interest in industry, too. Beyond the individual empowerment, making is at the root of an emerging production paradigm. Small-scale but high-tech projects are feasible today, “deploy or die” is the new paradigm in technology. Often, these projects employ open source principles and crowd funding to speed up development This is new territory for incumbent industry and one it has to learn to embrace quickly to be ready for the decades to come.
Peter Troxler is a Research Professor on the Revolution in Manufacturing at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. His field of research is the impact of readily available direct digital manufacturing technologies and the design and manufacturing practice of “fabbers” and “makers” on the creative and manufacturing industries, and the emergence of networked co-operation paradigms and business models based open source principles – such as Open Design and Open Source Hardware.
Peter is an industrial engineer by training (PhD 1999 from ETH Zurich). He worked in factory automation, attaching robots and automatic tool-changers to CNC milling machines before pursuing his career as business consultant and research manager.