Distributed manufacturing

This theme is summarised as on-demand, local manufacturing, made possible by combining digital technologies with new production processes. It includes aspects such as:

  • Distributed on-demand manufacturing processes operating at multiple locations and across organisational boundaries
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for mobile, modular or structureless factories
  • Dynamic and distributed engineering design
  • Flexible, rapidly responsive production systems for customised manufacturing, very small batches and short timescales
  • Application of modularity across processes – ‘plug and play’ manufacturing
  • Virtual production, order and delivery as well as virtual prototyping
  • Use of pervasive computing in manufacturing and through-life operations
  • Process intensification allowing production close to demand
  • New technologies for distributed manufacturing.

Proposals in this area should cover several of the aspects described above and should focus on the amalgamation of ICT and Manufacturing research to achieve the overall aim of the priority, driven by a multidisciplinary approach and a Manufacturing need. Research on business models and the social sciences can make a useful contribution to this theme but should not dominate the research agenda of any proposed centre.

Proposals should have significant input and support from industry that cuts across sectors. Proposals should provide the breadth and depth of knowledge needed in the various sectors that these areas feed into and support from major industrial stakeholders should reflect this