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Makespaces: From redistributed manufacturing to a circular economy
conference contributionposted on 07.11.2016, 11:46 by Sharon PrendevilleSharon Prendeville, Grit Hartung, Erica Purvis, Clare Brass, Ashley Hall
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.Redistributed manufacturing is an emerging concept which captures the anticipated reshoring and localisation of production from large scale mass manufacturing plants to smaller-scale localised, customisable production units, largely driven by new digital production technologies. Critically, community-based digital fabrication workshops, or makespaces, are anticipated to be one hothouse for this new era of localised production and as such are key to future sustainable design and manufacturing practices. In parallel, the concept of the circular economy conceptualises the move from a linear economy of take-make-waste to a closed loop system, through repair, remanufacturing, and recycling to ultimately extend the value of products and materials. Despite the clear interplay between redistributed manufacturing and circular economy, there is limited research exploring this relationship. In light of these interconnected developments, the aim of this paper is to explore the role of makespaces in contributing to a circular economy through redistributed manufacturing activities. This is achieved through six semi-structured interviews with thought leaders on these topics. The research findings identify barriers and opportunities to both circular economy and redistributed manufacturing, uncover overlaps between circular economy and redistributed manufacturing, and identify a range of future research directions that can support the coming together of these areas. The research contributes to a wider conversation on embedding circular practices within makespaces and their role in redistributed manufacturing.
This research was undertaken as part of the EPSRC-funded FMs RDM network project at the Royal College of Art
- Loughborough University London