a topic that I have researched for a very long time, staring with a large
research cluster during my old times at TU Munich (here some old paper: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/3-540-27367-0_27), and continuing with more recent research.
So it is
very interesting that the EU Commission now also is taking up this topic and
proactively is asking for proposals. In their call, they formulate future needs as follows:
equipment and innovative systems are needed to enable ultra-fast and cost
effective manufacturing of fully customised products on the spot and exactly at
the required time. Innovative production solutions must be developed to bring
manufacturing operations closer in time and space to the final customer. In
addition, new factory concepts need to be developed like on-site factories or
factories-in-a container, which provide instant manufacturing and customisation
services in retail environments.
mini-factories, addressing adaptation to customer needs at or near the point of
sales or use, will be characterised by fast ramp-up, small footprint and
reusability, and will be easy to handle and to set-up. Those production systems
should also include related new technologies for supply chain management,
product distribution and direct end-user interaction.
The call expects project results to have the following impacts:
- Increased ability to rapidly follow the market dynamics by means of fast
production and delivery of personalised final products.
- Reduction of the time to market by 50%.
reduction (around 30%) by decreasing lead times in product and process
and ramp-up time reduction (around 30%) for new processes and plant designs of