Achieving Responsive and Sustainable Manufacturing Through a Brokered Agent-Based Production Paradigm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Since the 1980s society has been largely satisfied with modern manufacturing’s production practice. We are able to develop supply chains that can produce today’s highly complex and advanced products and are able to scale mass production to meet much of society’s demands.

However, our growing reliance on a constrained set of production practices leaves society exposed when societal conditions drastically change (e.g., COVID-19). Mass-customisation also suggests that the future manufacturing landscape will be far more volatile requiring a response that cannot be achieved today. Sustainable manufacturing is also of prominent and critical importance, and a reliance on other nation’s production capabilities has concerned many nations potentially leaving them exposed during trade negotiations and diplomacy.

While concerns exist, the rapidly maturing field of Additive Manufacturing (AM) and its highly distributed and diverse nature may be able to alleviate them. If we can broker it effectively, AM can come together as one to tackle local, regional, national, and international needs. In this paper, we take a closer look at the drivers that are requiring us to re-think production practice. This is followed by a proposition that effective brokering of AM could mitigate the drivers. The paper then summarises the work the manufacturing community needs to perform in order to make it a reality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Design and Manufacturing - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing, KES-SDM 2021
EditorsSteffen G. Scholz, Robert J. Howlett, Rossi Setchi
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameSmart Innovation, Systems and Technologies
Volume262 SIST
ISSN (Print)2190-3018
ISSN (Electronic)2190-3026

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. The work has been undertaken as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grants – EP/R032696/1 and EP/V05113X/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.


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