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Connecting People with Machines

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Distributed manufacturing, “it’s easier to do than people think,” says Drura Parrish, founder and CEO of MakeTime. Parrish sat down with IMTSTV at the 2015 [MC]2 Conference to talk about the future of distributed manufacturing.

There’s an underlying problem that fuels the distributed manufacturing conversation, which is “Some people have machines, some people need machines,” says Parrish. Distributed manufacturing connects the people with the machines to the people who need the machines. This allows people with fully developed and engineered ideas, but no manufacturing base, to create their products by renting the downtime on other machines.

Technology plays a big role in the development of distributed manufacturing. There’s a large amount of time spent in hardware and software technologies development, but much of what is needed is already out there and can be made available. Parrish feels optimistic about the current state of this process, saying, “I think we need further development to be implemented to a broader audience.”

Most important, Parrish says, is an educated workforce, which is the only way distributed manufacturing can continue to grow. “If you don’t have an educated workforce you don’t have distributed manufacturing,” Parrish explains. “All too often in a typical hierarchical supply chain we look for people to do only their part. Distributed manufacturing is inherently built on the ability of agent bodies to do multiple tasks in multiple different ways.” It relies on flexibility and trust in the machinist and the management to know what they are capable of accomplishing and when.

For more on MakeTime and the distributed manufacturing conversation, watch the full interview!

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