Friday, April 24, 2009

Intelligent manufacturing in Architecture

Is it possible to create unique, beautiful structures in a fast and efficient manner? If you look at the world of architecture, most likely, the answer to that question would be no. Most new builds are assembled incrementally and entirely on site.

However if we look at the world of manufacturing, we can see that it is possible to create highly customised products on a production line. This can be achieved by decentralising the assembly process. Just look at the range of options available when you buy a new car. There are hundreds of possible configurations. If each car had to be built from scratch to order, auto manufacturers wouldn't be able to offer this service. It would take too long and be too costly. Instead they make the car up of many modules which are often subcontracted to other specialist manufacturers. These can then be combined in many different configurations on the assembly line as orders come in. This speeds up the process and enables more flexibility.

With a product as complex as a car (or a building) this is only made possible by the use of design software. This software allows products to be built virtually, with part and module interfaces modelled well in advance of assembly.

Here's a great example of decentralised manufacture in the building industry:

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