Microfactories -A New Methodology for Sustainable Manufacturing-
Fine Manufacturing Systems Research Group, Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Namiki 1-2-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8564, Japan
The microfactory concept advocates miniaturizing production equipment and systems to match product dimensions. This offers advantages environmentally by minimizing the physical factory footprint, economically by cutting investment and running costs, technically by refining machinery specifications, and personnel-wise by minimizing the need for specialized skills. Introducing a paradigm shift in manufacturing, the microfactory arose in the early 1990s, and has enjoyed significant advances through different sectors and diversified approaches targeting practical manufacturing applications. This paper discusses the microfactory concept and significance, its history, the range of potential applications, and some of the advances that have been made since the concept’s inception. It also suggests practices and applications in sustainable manufacturing for the future.
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