The Legacy Factory System: The invention of the steam engine and era of steam power made the cottage industry virtually extinct. Factories drew a programmed workforce out of the hinterlands to produce assembly line products. Fast forward a few hundred years and we now have the mega-factory. Focus on one product, and do it well, over and over again.
In our rush to optimize labor, streamline production, and discipline efficiency, we have made the modern factory a one-trick pony. Similar to the demise of a one variety banana plant, we’ve completely eroded flexibility and the ability to change by evolution. It’s this anti-evolutionary process that trades variety for efficiency in doing one thing perfectly well. For a dimensionally stable market and product, this may be a profitable model. But for a changing market, the huge infrastructure costs can prohibit a profit for a long time as investment is recouped. And if the product changes, even more investment is needed to accommodate it.
From a labor standpoint, it’s like fulfilling boxes at Amazon, or building iPhones in China. It’s miserable and boring for workers. While robots can do much of the repetitive work to replace humans, they are capital intensive and require power. What if there was a system that blended interesting work, with efficiency, economy of scale, and the chameleon-like responsiveness to a ever changing market ?
The Micro Factory:
The concept of a micro factory is to have a continuous production machine, that is operated by one or two people, that can efficiently build a market driven product. It a pure distributed build model, multiple geographically centric micro factories can produce one cohesive product. This is done to some effect on a large scale with Boeing and Airbus, where they have parts produced around the world to build a airliner, but they’re so geographically disjointed, it doesn’t make sense.
For our micro factory, we’ll look at the Spinning Disc Reactor (SDR). The unique process capabilities of the SDR make it a great candidate for our needs. It is a one-stop shop that can extract, blend, mix, heat, cool, purify, process, and mold materials together. For the operator, it removes the repetitiveness and boredom out of assembly line mentality, and instills the unique problem solving and multitasking functions into a build process.
The SDR can be used as a botanical oil extraction machine one week, producing silver nano particles the next, and even switch to making Graphene after that. Because it uses water as a carrier, it is continuous feed and flow.
The next production revolution will be the Spinning Disc Reactor. Responsive to market demand and profit potential.
Summary: In our one-size-fits all mega factory business model, there is a niche for a market and profit responsive method for production called the micro factory. The micro factory uses a Spinning Disc Reactor which requires minimal human capital (both labor and infrastructure) to build a continuously produced product, that is responsive to market needs. As a market-centric production machine, the micro factory cohesively blends human nature with machines, while still making money. In the era of high-technology, low cost renewable raw materials such as activated carbon, hemp, and bamboo can produce profitable production such as Quantum Dots, silver nano-particles, and graphene.