Frugal manufacturing in smart factories for widespread sustainable development

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Manufacturing is a crucial activity of product development that feeds into and is also influenced by the design process. Any material conservation gained during manufacturing directly affects the green credentials of a product. Manufacturing waste can be contrived to approach zero through a recently developed frugal design approach that quantifies resource conservation at all stages of development of a product engineered for frugality. Accordingly, this effort presents frugal manufacturing (FM), integral to the frugal design approach, for utmost reduction of waste while aiming for good surface integrity, better properties, minimal number of processes and low cost. Other than saving on energy and hence emissions, the new concept of FM also goes beyond current near net shape technologies, which advocate mainly for zero wastage and suitable properties while using a narrow range of manufacturing processes. Case studies involving high-speed machining, superplastic forming and additive manufacturing of aerospace alloys have been presented that bring out the features and benefits of FM. As such the multipronged objectives of FM should be dovetailed with those of smart factories for creating novel technologies that abet widespread sustainable development. Such enhancement of the smart factories concept has been argued to support unusual applications such as the fight against pandemics including the current one involving COVID-19.




Rao, B. C. (2021). Frugal manufacturing in smart factories for widespread sustainable development. Royal Society Open Science, 8(12).

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