Manufacturing: It’s Unbelievably Exciting and Nothing Like the Past

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by | Oct 20, 2016

By Carroll Thomas, Director of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The revolution will not be televised—but it will be digitized!

Taken from a famous poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron first recorded in 1970, this was a popular slogan in the African-American community back in the day. The lyrics in the poem refers to television series, advertising slogans and icons of entertainment and news coverage that feature examples of what the revolution will not be or do.

When I talk about revolution I am referring to the revolution that is happening in the manufacturing sector often called Manufacturing 4.0. Today manufacturing means cars being printed—yes I said printed! There are new materials being developed that allow cars to be printed like the street legal vehicles that Local Motors features. Local Motors is a co-creation, innovative manufacturer of vehicles that are made by using additive technology, also called 3-D printing, to produce small batches of cars for specific community oriented use. They utilize an open source community of over 50,000 people from all over the world to help them come up with ideas by employing design challenges. Visiting a Local Motors micro-factory is an experience for anyone who likes cars, manufacturing and/or seeing the future now. It is a must see, and it is not televised—except on YouTube where you can find David Woessner, the GM of Local Motors in National Harbor, MD.

Yes, there is a seismic and exciting shift in how and what we are manufacturing. We must stay tuned and involved through digital connections because TV is not quick enough these days. It’s happening faster than we can imagine. And it will be fun to be connected in ways we could only dream of before!

Local Motors is just one of the thousands of manufacturers with MFG Day events happening today. Happy Manufacturing Day!

Photo Courtesy of Local Motors

Carroll Thomas is the Director of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership. In her role as Director, she is responsible for a nationwide network of centers to help U.S. manufacturers compete globally, supporting greater supply chain integration and providing access to technology.

(Post originally appeared on the NIST MEP Manufacturing Innovation Blog)

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