Two-Photon Polymerization as a Component of Desktop Integrated Manufacturing Platforms
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© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Manufacturing technology today may be compared with computer technology 40 years ago, epitomized by large centralized "mainframe" facilities. The proliferation of desktop computing ushered in a new age of access that revolutionized how we communicate, do business, and socialize. The world economy flourished with new jobs - in software, peripherals, and even furniture and accessories - to support this new infrastructure. We suggest that a possible scenario for the future of manufacturing is to emulate this transformation from the mainframe to networked PCs by migrating from centralized factories to distributed, networked Desktop Integrated Manufacturing Platforms (DIMPs). In this vision a DIMP is envisioned as a single or interconnected group of manufacturing processing units/machine(s) forming an autonomous entity that executes complex hybrid manufacturing processes. DIMPs could be physically connected or distributed and coordinated via, for example, the Internet. Depending on the manufacturing task and process compatibility, multiple DIMPs can be interconnected through a common "bus" carrying materials, energy, and control signals. Several multi DIMPs can thus be further interconnected, perhaps regardless of location, to form a network or "Internet of distributed DIMPs.".