The 8th International Conference on Precise Machinery and Manufacturing Technology (ICPMMT) recently concluded in Kenting, Taiwan. From May 19th to May 21st, experts and researchers gathered to delve into the latest advancements in design and manufacturing, engineering technology, green manufacturing, automation, and more. Dr. Torbjörn Nordling, the project supervisor at Nimbnet, was a keynote speaker and shared insights on the trends in specialization and additive manufacturing in future scenarios. In this blog post, we will explore the highlights of his keynote presentation and shed light on the evolving manufacturing landscape.
Historically, manufacturing has been characterized by specialization, with individuals, corporations, and regions focusing on producing specific products or parts, which in turn promotes global trade with cost-efficient manufacturing. However, additive manufacturing, including technologies like 3D printing and modular building, challenges this specialization by allowing the deposition and joining of materials without relying on specialized labor. (At least once the printer is built and the design made.) Thus, this flexible approach reduces costs and allows production to be closer to consumption.
The future of manufacturing is being rewritten. Dr. Nordling discussed future scenarios based on energy abundance or scarcity and intellectual property enforcement’s impact on the development of additive manufacturing, labor shortages, and the feasibility of the current export model for prosperity in manufacturing.
- Energy Abundance and Open Standards:
Abundant energy resources and open standards facilitate collaboration and the rapid adoption of additive manufacturing, driving technical progress and implementation. This results in a prosperous society.
- Energy Abundance with Strong Intellectual Property Enforcement:
Despite abundant energy, strict intellectual property enforcement limits knowledge sharing and impedes the pace of technical progress, potentially hindering additive manufacturing’s growth.
- Energy Scarcity and Open Standards:
Energy scarcity prompts resource optimization and sustainable practices. Collaboration and open standards drive advancements and resilience in manufacturing processes, supporting additive manufacturing technologies.
- Energy Scarcity with Strong Intellectual Property Enforcement:
Energy scarcity and strong intellectual property enforcement restrict knowledge exchange and hinder technical progress. Countries facing this scenario are not cost-competitive. Their industrial basis is further destroyed by energy crises, putting them on a path towards social unrest and becoming failed states.
The ICPMMT 8th International Conference offered valuable insights into the dynamic field of manufacturing. Torbjörn Nordling’s keynote speech highlighted the impact of megatrends on specialization and additive manufacturing, outlining four future scenarios. As the industry continues to evolve, considerations surrounding energy availability, intellectual property rights, and the balance between specialization and additive manufacturing will shape its trajectory. By keeping abreast of these trends, industry professionals and policymakers can navigate the path toward a sustainable, innovative, and inclusive manufacturing landscape.