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Cloud Expo: Article

The Maker Movement & the Democratization of Enterprise Manufacturing

Manufacturing innovations help individuals bring ideas to market more quickly

Several years ago, any amateur inventor or designer with a plan to create an injection-molded part or product had to have a budget big enough to equal their ambition. Those same people today are now finding that what was previously out of reach due to the cost is now something that’s both achievable and greatly less expensive. The 3D modeling manufacturing process is what has brought about these changes in the manufacturing world and is having a growing impact among established companies and entrepreneurs.

The possibilities are enormous and fashion designers, engineers and musicians are pushing the boundaries of manufacturing projects. The tasks and abilities possible today are beyond what was available less than a decade ago and it’s created a do-it-yourself subculture known as the maker movement, which consists of jewelry makers, crafters, sculptors, teachers and even those tech-savvy enough to create ordinary household items, such as a new handle for a cupboard door.

These new manufacturing innovations are allowing people to have greater ability to bring their ideas to life and, if they’re running a business, to get their products in the market more quickly. Many established manufacturing processes are still in place, but industry manufacturers are aware of how the field is changing as designers and small businesses are no longer as dependent on them as they once were.

A new era for enterprise manufacturing
When a new technology inspires questions on whether a new Industrial Revolution is under way, even if it’s perhaps a bit hyperbolic, it’s still clear that a new era has come about. 3D printing is allowing designers in various industries to create tangible objects based on digital 3D blueprints and created through the use of a plastic or alloy. The medical and biotech fields have embraced what 3D printing can create, and the maker movement is becoming better known throughout the world as new possibilities are made. Whether it’s a guitar, a pair of running shoes or even sugary treats, the results are fascinating and future projects will be worth paying attention to in the years to come.

Micro molding’s role in manufacturing
With these cutting-edge developments taking place, concerns exist about how 3D printing will affect the micro molding industry since certain small businesses and ecommerce vendors are no longer tied to manufacturers to produce their products. As great as 3D printing is, it has its limits and can’t be relied on to replace micro molding. When it comes to the tiny components that compose the latest medical devices or technology, micro molding is the only choice to be made and will continue to be a necessary resource for designers and engineers from a variety of industries. Even in side-by-side comparisons with other manufacturing processes, micro molding proves itself to be the most effective solution for creating ultra-tiny parts for high-tech projects.

The future of enterprise manufacturing
The maker movement may be something that grows from a subculture to an established standard in the years to come, but the future of enterprise manufacturers will likely center around traditional processes in combination with innovations such as 3D printing and micro molding. What may unfold is that the next generation of engineers and designers will likely originate in the maker movement and may later find themselves utilizing their skills and ideas in a career in the manufacturing industry.

High-tech manufacturing at both the business and individual levels
Even if declaring that a new Industrial Revolution has arrived isn’t that accurate, it’s clear that an important revolutionary change has come about for manufacturers around the world. Micro molding techniques will be front and center in producing the internal components for laptops, phones and other portable devices we rely on every day.

Those in the maker movement will likely be well aware of the developments in the manufacturing field, and enterprise manufacturers will likewise be attuned to the activities within this new subculture. How much of an influence they’ll exert on each other remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the democratization of manufacturing is well under way and will continue to advance as enthusiasts and entrepreneurs are reinventing what’s possible when it comes to taking an idea and making it a tangible product that can make someone else’s life easier.

More Stories By Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop works in marketing and digital strategy for a technology startup. Her previous experience has included five years in enterprise and agency environments. She specializes in helping businesses learn about ways rapidly changing enterprise solutions, business strategies and technologies can refine organizational communication, improve customer experience and maximize co-created value with converged marketing strategies.

Connect with Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest.

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