Fireside chat: The impact of microfactory production
Microfactories are enabling new production strategies, using cutting-edge technology to manufacture parts in optimized locations to create shorter, streamlined, more sustainable supply chains. Recently, Fast Radius Chief Scientist Bill King and Chief Executive Officer Lou Rassey sat down together to discuss the future of manufacturing and the impact of microfactories on the industry.
Bill: Hi I’m Bill King, Chief Scientist at Fast Radius, and I’m here with Lou Rassey, Fast Radius’ CEO. What’s a microfactory?
Lou: A microfactory is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that allows companies to produce parts using state-of-the-art equipment, metrology, and a workflow that allows that factory to be flexible and scalable.
Now, we might think about a microfactory as a factory in a box. There is a specific blueprint for each microfactory that includes the physical flow, as well as all the information flow and the digital orchestration of the factory, as well as the human systems for how people work in that factory.
So we have a blueprint for our microfactories, and they are designed to be copy and pasted into locations all around the world. Each of them is an exact replica of the launch factory, and that allows us to produce parts in different microfactory locations, proximate to where the end demand is, and have confidence that each node in the network will perform exactly like the others.
Bill: So our microfactories, they’re designed to be hyper-efficient. They’re designed to be extremely reliable, and they’re also designed to be digitally connected so that at all times, our software stack knows what’s happening and is directing its operations.
Lou: What does having these microfactories allow us and the industry to do?
Bill: Microfactories unlock several things that are really exciting. So the first is just the efficient orchestration of each factory and then also the factories within a network, so that they can operate at the highest possible performance. The microfactories also enable distributed manufacturing.
Lou: Throughout human history, we have moved parts three ways: by ground, by air, and by sea. Now, we have a fourth mode of transportation, which is moving parts through the internet at the speed of light and producing them local to where those parts are needed around the world.
Just as these earlier modes of transportation have driven incredible gains in productivity and access for the world, we believe this new mode of transportation will do the same and have a profound impact on how global supply chains work.
Bill: Lou, this is such a transformative concept to think about moving goods over the internet.
Lou: The ability to store parts digitally and move parts digitally is profound. It creates a more sustainable global supply chain model. Something the world desperately needs. It also allows us to fulfill the physical products that people need around the world in a more responsible way. And this distributed digital supply chain infrastructure is here today. It works.
Bill: Lou, thanks so much. This was a great conversation about the future of manufacturing.
Lou: Thank you, Bill.