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#1 2021-06-21 10:30:19

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Microfactories

This is an interesting video that will have a lot of relevance to Mars. It focuses on a firm Arrival who are producing EV commercial vehicles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_Qyor9Yc-s

The interesting thing is that they are making their vehicles in "microfactories".

The factories and the vehicle design have been integrated. They use a proprietary product to mould the frame - so it does not need to be pressed and as the colour is integral to it, the vehicle does not need to be painted. Welding is avoided - they use adhesives and attachments as in the aero-industry. These all give big savings on space.

During the production process the vehicle passes between robotic cells (on a robotic carrier). Very flexible and means you can produce more than one product. No linear production.

This is definitely the sort of production facility we will need on Mars for a range of items.

Last edited by louis (2021-06-21 10:31:23)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2021-06-21 11:19:24

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,009

Re: Microfactories

For Louis re new topic ...

Bravo! 

Best wishes for success with what promises to be a long lasting and ever-evolving topic!

In the age of de-globalization caused by the recent/current virus, this concept appears (to me at least) to have a ** lot ** of potential right here on Earth.

(th)

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#3 2021-06-21 18:52:15

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Microfactories

Well I think it is a very important topic because there is no way - even with Musk's Big Concept - that we ship out 100,000 ton factories.

We need to scale down the industry we know from Earth to a level that can provide a growing Mars community of tens of thousands of people with what they need, without importing huge mass from the home planet.  So microfactories with flexible robotic cells are the way forward I feel.

tahanson43206 wrote:

For Louis re new topic ...

Bravo! 

Best wishes for success with what promises to be a long lasting and ever-evolving topic!

In the age of de-globalization caused by the recent/current virus, this concept appears (to me at least) to have a ** lot ** of potential right here on Earth.

(th)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#4 2021-06-22 07:08:52

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,009

Re: Microfactories

For Louis re #3 and topic ...

The growth of microfactories might help to reduce the disparity of income enjoyed by people around the world.  The current system encourages race-to-the-bottom wage scales that result in low wages for millions if not billions of workers. 

We ** had ** microfactories for many years before the industrial revolution, and there still are a few scattered around the world.

So the need for microfactories for Mars might encourage improved living standards for people on Earth.

The evolution of 3D Printing toward the ultimate expression of the Startrek (r) Replicator is in progress and it will continue until Replicators are as common as microwave ovens are today (in first tier countries).

At that point the benefits of scale will be less apparent, and the need to provide race-to-the-bottom wages will ease a bit.

(th)

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#5 2021-06-22 10:37:34

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 7,343
Website

Re: Microfactories

I saw a video some years ago of a car manufacturer using a cell based approach rather than production line. They were still using assembly workers rather than robotics, which I guess says how old it is. Polymer body panels with moulded-in colour has been used since the Pontiac Fiero in 1984, possibly earlier. Although the video shows this company is using a fabric polymer rather than just moulded plastic. I guess I'm saying it's not radical technology, just smart use of existing techniques updated to current technology.

Stamping is a cost effective way to manufacture with sheet metal. Welding means you don't have to pay for bolts, nuts, etc. And welding is quick, you don't have to drill a screw hole, line up the screw to the hole, line up the bolt on the opposite side, and screw them together. An alternative to nuts is to tap threads into one of your pieces. That requires tapping threads. Welding means you place 2 pieces of stamped steel together, and spot weld at several locations. Easy, quick, cheap. But moving large pieces of stamped steel around takes large robots. One pieces for the car side, one for the top, etc. Welding does not require large robots, can be done with garage arc welder, but assembling cars is typically done with spot welds that require quick placement of the weld spots on both sides. That requires a clamp that can reach around the piece to the weld spot on both sides. That's why robot spot welders are so big.

With welding, typically you tack weld the pieces together to temporarily hold them, then complete a full seam weld. It's telling that current automotive technology just uses spot welding. That's cheap and weak. Is the chassis at least seam welded?

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#6 2021-06-22 18:58:31

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,761

Re: Microfactories

Self sufficiency of early colonists will rely on the small factory concept and equipment to make it possible to stay.

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#7 2021-08-23 19:02:08

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,782

Re: Microfactories

Making machines that make robots, and robots that make themselves

https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Maki … s_999.html

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#8 2021-08-23 21:05:50

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,761

Re: Microfactories

There is a problem with these types of claims as they are examples of automation as they can not move from a location to another in an assembly line process. They do not make the raw product that they are modifying or assembling. They have no capacity to bring in the ore to refine into the objects that are made or assembled. Most machines are dedicated specific function automations for a given task.
A machine that welds does not make rubber hoses as well are clear examples of robotics that are not making what they are let alone the hydraulic fluid or electrical power that they use to create all of its activities.

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#9 2021-08-23 21:23:17

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,009

Re: Microfactories

For Mars_B4_Moon re #7

Thank you for bringing the work of this brilliant young researcher to our attention.

SearchTerm:Folding as applied to robot design

I didn't understand what I was reading so have set a reminder to go back to it.

It doesn't seem to have anything to do with traditional robot design, which SpaceNut has described in Post #8.

(th)

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#10 2021-08-23 21:40:38

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,761

Re: Microfactories

Article is about lowering cost to get to space and its using the stuff we are now introducing.

"We used layers of materials including shape memory polymers, which are smart materials that can be programmed to changed their shape under different temperature conditions," says Nisser. "This allowed us to program 2D multilayer sheets to fold in particular ways in order to acquire targeted 3D configurations."

The experience brought Nisser to his current interest in exporing how robots can be automatically fabricated using both top-down processes like 3D printing and bottom-up processes like self-assembly.

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