Configurable Solutions for Low-Cost Digital Manufacturing: a Building Block Approach
The creation of digital manufacturing solutions at low cost is characterised by a successive development and a combination of disparate hardware and software elements. Modular building blocks address these limitations. This paper proposes and evaluates an explicit two-stage approach to develop configurable digital manufacturing solutions from bespoke solutions by using modular hardware and software building blocks. In the first stage, the solution is being made configurable through decomposition, while the second stage creates building blocks from resulting solution elements. For demonstration, the approach is applied to two tailor-made solutions. Resulting building blocks are then reused to create a new solution. We provide further insights by discussing challenges when applying our approach, and justifying its usage by qualitatively evaluating to what extent solution configurability can be achieved at low cost, which characterises the main objective of this study.