Business

Distributed Manufacturing Gives Small Businesses a Shot at the Big Time

Automated manufacturing: It’s a term that conjures gigantic factories churning out thousands of identical products, often owned by multinational conglomerates for whom agility is a major (and expensive) undertaking.

But what about small businesses? They can pivot quickly in response to markets, but how can they access the economic efficiency that automation offers? Enter distributed manufacturing, in which the materials and fabrication are decentralized, making the processes more accessible, customizable, and affordable.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/distributed-manufacturing/.

Photo Credit: Betsy and Mike Jasper of Tarkka have the mission to democratize digital fabrication for everyone, from small-manufacturing professionals to students and hobbyists. Courtesy of Gabriel Joffe.

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This Firm Ditched Shrink-Wrap to Aid Sustainable Agriculture Practices in Myanmar

Supporting the world’s farmers in meaningful ways would make a big difference to the income and lives of people in developing economies. It would lead to less dependence on imports and stronger local-food production at a time when food provenance is a growing concern.

But how can this vision be realized? There are many problems to mitigate—for example, the chemicals used in pesticides and fertilizers and their impact on soil and ecosystems, including erosion and biodiversity loss. To support agriculture industries across the world, creating sustainable agriculture practices needs to be a central concern.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/sustainable-agriculture-practices/.

Photo Credit: Proximity Designs’ founders believe deeply in living among those whom they serve, so they moved to Myanmar in 2004 to address the neglected needs of rural farmers. Photo by Rita Khin, courtesy of Proximity Designs....

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Japan’s Daiwa House Industry Is Using Generative Design to Retool Urban Housing

Japan is one of the most urbanized nations in the world, with more than 91 percent of its citizens living in its densely packed cities. High demand for long-term housing in urban areas combined with a scarcity of available land presents unique challenges for Japan’s residential-construction industry—challenges that are difficult to overcome using traditional design methods. To this end, Daiwa House Industry, one of Japan’s largest construction firms and a specialist in industrialized housing, is developing custom systems that use generative design to optimize building on small parcels, in line with the country’s urbanization patterns.

In Japan’s housing-complex business, plans are drawn up manually to demonstrate how the building can make best use of the landowner’s property; with such limited space on the island nation, maximizing efficiency is crucial. “For housing complexes such as apartment blocks, it is very important that we lay out the building on the available land,” says Takashi Yamasaki, manager of Daiwa’s Information Systems department. The proposal must also satisfy the landowner’s commitment to contribute to the community; profits are not the sole focus.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/daiwa-house-industry/.

Photo Credit: A three-story apartment complex designed by Daiwa House. Courtesy of Daiwa House Industry.

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How the Digital Supply Chain Will Change the Future of Manufacturing

A transformation of manufacturing supply chains is ushering in the fourth modality of logistics. To ground, air, and ocean, manufacturers can now add digital. The move to the digital supply chain—the power source for Industry 4.0—creates multiple opportunities for every company in every industry.

But every revolution needs exemplars to help lead the way, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies present a massive opportunity: a chance to redesign supply chains so they are no longer constrained by the physical limitations of transportation and logistics.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/digital-supply-chain/.
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4 Tips for Building a Small-but-Mighty Team of BIM Experts

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is the perfect embodiment of what it means to be big: towering skyscrapers, massive bridges, expansive tunnels, and innovative and inventive designs. Yet small can also be powerful, especially when it’s rooted in passion and purpose. These are the foundations on which Axoscape was built.

Based in Houston, Texas, Axoscape helps architects, contractors, and subcontractors understand BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology to stay relevant in the industry. Despite having only a nine-person team, the expert BIM-services firm is making a significant impact by taking on projects with a purpose, whether it’s laser-scan-like photogrammetry of damage from Hurricane Harvey or partnering with Habitat for Humanity, Houston Food Bank, and other organizations supporting their communities.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/bim-expert/.

Photo Credit: When tackling complex issues, it’s essential to bring diverse perspectives and skillsets to the table. Image composite: Micke Tong.

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5 Ways Industrial-Manufacturing “Dinosaur” Claudius Peters Staves Off Extinction

Claudius Peters is hardly a household name. The huge manufacturer of materials handling and processing systems for cement, gypsum, steel, and aluminum plants won’t challenge Amazon’s or Tesla’s news-cycle dominance. But Thomas Nagel, the company’s chief digital officer and operations director, is establishing Claudius Peters as a global leader in—of all things—digital innovation.

Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Buxtehude, Germany, near Hamburg, Claudius Peters and is an international company with a dozen offices worldwide. Scale and longevity are reassuring. “But 100 years of operation also means that we are a dinosaur,” Nagel says. That presents a fundamental challenge: How does a “dinosaur” avoid extinction?

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/claudius-peters/.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Claudius Peters

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Project Frog Envisions a Construction Industry Defined by Big Data

In this Q&A series, Redshift speaks with leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and disrupters who embody the future of making in construction, manufacturing, architecture, and infrastructure. This “Voices on the Future of Making” features Mike Eggers, vice president of Product and Innovation at Project Frog. The San Francisco–based industrialized-construction company designs and develops prefabricated building systems kits containing parts to be used in conjunction with a technology platform, delivering building solutions at scale.

Frog’s kits, the brainchildren of architects, product designers, and engineers, address three overarching concepts: flexibility, automation, and “accessibility,” meaning ease of use for architects, engineers, manufacturers, and builders. Similar to modular construction, these kits are assembled into schools, community centers, medical office buildings, and other structures. But while modular construction is fully assembled in a factory, the kits are designed for two-dimensional, flat-packed shipment to construction sites—like IKEA furniture but on a much larger scale.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/project-frog/.

Photo Credit: Project Frog designs prefabricated building systems as “kits” that are shipped to jobsites in flat packs. Courtesy Project Frog.

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Do Legacy Construction Companies Have the Inside Track on Modular Building?

Fresh-faced, tech-oriented startups get most of the attention in the modular-building world, but despite their “it” factor, they’re still start-ups. Is there a market share in modular just waiting for companies with the approach and know-how that come with legacy experience?

Chicago-based legacy construction company Skender has been researching modular construction for years and is now getting in the game. In late November 2018, it invited a gaggle of reporters and industry representatives to its 106,000-square-foot factory space on Chicago’s southwest side for a look at its prototype modular apartment. When the new venture is up and running, the company pledges to employ 100 people to produce 2,500 modules per year, at a rate 30% to 40% faster and at a cost 10% to 20% less than traditional construction.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/modular-construction-companies/.

Photo Credit: Skender’s prototype of a modular apartment building it is constructing in Chicago. Courtesy of Skender.

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Reimagining the Future of Making: Automation Helps People Live and Work Better

Humanity inevitably needs, desires, and demands more. At the same time, it must also confront the reality of less—fewer natural resources, less space, and fewer skilled construction and manufacturing workers than the world needs.

But while resources and skilled labor are in short supply, the global population is increasing (to nearly 10 billion people by 2050), and poverty is declining in developing countries. In 1990, less than a quarter of the world’s population earned enough to be defined as middle class. Today, nearly half do, and every day, 400,000 more people join the global middle class.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/future-of-automation/.
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Want to Change the World Through Innovation in Engineering? Use a Proven System

As someone who has worked in Silicon Valley for 20-plus years, you might expect me to tout the computer as the greatest engineering innovation of all time. But even after decades working in the cradle of one of the most significant inventions in history, I still often jump back several centuries when asked what I consider to be the greatest innovation of all time: the printing press.

The printing press was instrumental in democratizing and dispersing literacy and knowledge throughout Europe and around the globe. The Gutenberg Bible, created using some of the earliest printing presses, changed the structure of politics and religion around Europe. It was revolutionary. It changed the world. That’s the power of innovation—or, at least, the possibility.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/engineering-innovation/.
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