“Factory to go" brings manufacturing directly to the place where it is needed

July 06, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
“Factory to go" brings manufacturing directly to the place where it is needed
With this technology, companies can produce flexibly at locations close to the customer - no matter where the customer is located: Fraunhofer researchers developed the mobile factory together with partners in the EU project CassaMobile. The core is a versatile 3D printer.

There are situations in which a specific, very individual part must be procured very quickly: A broken front suspension in a Formula 1 race, for example, or a bone drill template for accident patients. With conventional spare parts logistics, it can take a long time for the desired part to arrive on site.

In the future, this will be faster because these parts and templates can then be produced close to the end user - for example near the hospitals. This is made possible by a mobile factory called "CassaMobile", which was developed in the EU project of the same name by twelve European companies and institutes under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. The idea and the concept also originate from the Fraunhofer IPA. "The mobile factory can reduce the delivery time from up to one week to two days," says project manager Raphael Adamietz. The Italian word "CassaMobile" means nothing else than "mobile container". Although the green and white container looks unimpressive from the outside, the impression is misleading: an intelligent mini factory is hidden inside. In it, the desired parts can be produced as 3D prints, reworked in a milling machine, qualitatively checked and, if necessary, packaged sterile.

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