The Case For Smart Factories

The important thing to keep in mind however, is that societies have to pay attention to the accelerated pace of technological development and be ready to take advantage of new opportunities that arise.

One new opportunity that has arisen and begs for exploitation is the development of smart factories. Smart factories can create good, well paying jobs for citizens. Advances in wireless technology, robotics and the requirement for environmental sustainability are what make smart factories economically feasible. One of the ideal places to develop such factories is in the Calumet industrial region, located around the Lake Michigan basin of Northeastern Illinois and Northwestern Indiana.

Traditionally, factories were designed and built around a product. With emphasis solely on the production going on within the factory and little attention paid to the facility that housed that production, energy waste and environmental damage became an all too common occurrence. Generally speaking, smart factories are not developed or operated by the same people who develop or produce the product being manufactured inside them.

Smart factories are designed and built to accommodate the assembly of almost any product that comes their way. This is an important factor today because the manufacturing life of most products is only around a year or two and because product components are primarily produced and shipped globally to an assembly point. Take the Apple iPhone for example; while it is assembled in China by Foxconn Electronics and is considered a Chinese made product, less than three percent of the parts contained in an iPhone are actually made in China. Currently, thirty-three nations, located on three continents contribute the parts that go into every iPhone.

While labor costs are the reason that U.S. companies moved manufacturing to foreign countries, political instability, natural disasters attributable to climate change and increasing risk of disruption to supply chains are reasons that U.S. companies are looking to return. Smart factories are the final piece in the puzzle of how to grow manufacturing in the U.S. while maintaining well paid jobs within the manufacturing workforce.

Smart factories that are built to be environmentally sustainable and adaptable to a variety of products will not just level the playing field between foreign and domestic manufacturing costs, they can decisively tilt that field in favor of bringing manufacturing back to America. Developed and operated by a new breed of entrepreneurs who specialize in factory development and assembly operations, smart factories will dramatically decrease the time from innovation to manufacturing.

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Posted by on Jan 1st, 2012 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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