At the end of May, the global open hardware community met in Vienna, Austria (only the second meet-up to be held in Europe - the 2014 summit was in Rome) to give talks about new aspects, new methods and lessons learned for the open hardware movement. The keynote was held by David Cuartielles - co-creator of the Arduino and was followed by talks from Katherine Scott and Michael Weinberg from the board of the Open Source Hardware Association. Herbert and Sebastian presented the AXIOM project and many interesting talks followed. You can watch the full length recording below:
We are currently undergoing a so called 'fourth industrial revolution'. The first revolution came with the arrival of steam power and mechanization. The second revolution, from the invention of electricity, mass production and assembly lines and the third revolution through technology such as computing, robots and automation. Now the fourth revolution has come about through the creation of so called "smart factories". Interestingly, the exact definition differs depending on who you ask: "it's about connecting things together", "IoT - the Internet of Things", "decentralized decisions", "Cloud connected manufacturing services" are some of the statements you will hear. One defining characteristic is the high level of product customization with highly flexible production runs. We think that the industry still has to figure out much of what the fourth revolution should be about. While big-business has been slow to embrace, small companies and individuals have adapted more quickly and for this sub-group, we name the process "DIY 2.0" - because adding version numbers to general terms still seems to be cool :) .
We believe that it started with the rise of 3D printing as a worldwide phenomenon and the resulting formation of the maker-movement. Actually, "printing" plastic has been around since 1983 and much of the underlying technology is still the same. This movement was not started by new technology, it was started by people getting connected and forming global communities on the Internet - taking decentralized decisions and creating cloud based manufacturing services. You might have noticed that this description is similar to Industry 4.0. So in summary, we think that availability of machines allowing individuals and small organizations to manufacture more and more complex items is the next revolution. Currently, 3D printed plastic and CNC milled parts - soon, more materials and manufacturing techniques, more complex electronics and then entire products.
While an open hardware and free software high end camera platform like the AXIOM is an ideal match for large-scale smart factory applications, our immediate focus is actually on doing our part for the DIY 2.0 revolution. We consciously decided against outsourcing the production of the AXIOM Beta or going to a contract manufacturer. We instead decided to establish our own manufacturing, testing and quality assurance processes and do as much in-house as we can. This not only allows us to learn a lot about the process and how to reach optimal quality, but also gives us full flexibility when it comes to small-scale production runs or rapidly switching production to a newer hardware versions. We want to focus on this effort in the near future by designing DIY 2.0 manufacturing machines - potentially a Pick-n-Place machine, or a flying probe and automated optical inspection machine
Want to provide feedback or suggest improvements? Want to try your own approach and need help?