The Industrial Revolution brought about new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to 1840. It may have jumpstarted the era of development however we had to pay huge price for this development. We started making mass products in central factories and as a result destroyed the environment with pollutants and almost killed the Local manufacturing hubs. But things are about to change, with the power of 3D printing we can setup local manufacturing units where we make things on demand. Does it sound too good to be real? Formalabs has decided to show us how it’s done by setting up a minifactory to make IoT wearable in front of live audience.
Formlabs has installed an army of their Form1+ printers in the Expo hall at Fort Mason where Solid Conference San Francisco is underway. These printers will be used to make 500 unique, computationally-generated wristband enclosures LIVE in front of expo visitors.
David Cranor and Marcelo Coelho the curators of the Minifactory said “In advance of Solid, we've been talking a lot about the exciting new world of fast, flexible, and agile global manufacturing. To really drive this point home, we’re setting up an unprecedented demo: a real manufacturing line that will turn raw components into fully–functioning wearable devices, smack-dab in the middle of Solid’s exhibit hall.
A real-time microfactory of this scale has never been attempted before at a conference like Solid. We are proud to partner with Formlabs in this unprecedented endeavour to demonstrate 3D printing’s vital role in the new world of agile global manufacturing where hardware, software, and the Internet of Things intersect.”
The enclosures that these printers print will be used are for the Alike Bands, which is a simple wearable gear that connects people with common interests across social networking sites. This project was a part of the “Internet of Things” initiative, and also focuses on Minifactory manufacturing techniques.
The Alike Band has been designed by Coelho, and uses LED lights on the band to connect with people with common interests. This band will be given to the visitors of the event and work as an innovative way of connecting with like minded people. This connected consumer electronic device made using Formlabs printer will also display the agile nature of 3d printing factories.
Will Walker a representative from Formlabs was ecstatic at the grand success of their Minifactory when he spoke to us and said “This exhibit illustrates the real power of 3D printing. We’re manufacturing 500 one-of-a-kind electronics for conference attendees to wear. This level of customization is really difficult through normal mass manufacturing. We’re really excited to push the boundaries of how we think about making things and Solid is the perfect place to showcase this idea.”
So is this the next beginning of the Industrial revolution? It certainly is and the history books will remember FormLabs as the pioneers of the Minifactory Manufacturing Process.