Three Fundamental Trade-offs in Expanding Sustainable Distributions of Manufacturing
Fox, Stephen (2020)
Teknisten tieteiden tohtoriohjelma - Doctoral Programme in Engineering Sciences
Tekniikan ja luonnontieteiden tiedekunta - Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
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The background of the research is the trend towards more inclusive manufacturing. This includes all levels of technologies to enable more diverse geographic and demographic distributions of manufacturing, which can improve ecological and social sustainability. Expanding distributions of manufacturing is of interest to governments, companies, communities and individuals. Interest among government and companies relates to manufacturing being re-shored and redistributed. Interest among communities and individuals is in people having more involvement in the production of what they consume: i.e. prosumption. Expansion of geographic distributions has potential to increase ecological sustainability, for example, by reducing long-distance transportation. Expansion of demographic distributions has potential to increase social sustainability, for example, by increasing the diversity of people involved in manufacturing. The dissertation addresses three research gaps concerned with sustainable distributed manufacturing. In particular, the fundamental challenges of three manufacturing trade-offs are addressed as follows: product originality, product complexity, and product unsustainability versus sustainable distributed manufacturing. There are three main findings from the research. First, technological advances enable expansion of sustainable distributed manufacturing of original products, if the products are small simple original products rather than large complicated original products. Second, technological advances enable sustainable distributed manufacturing of products that are more complex than could otherwise be made far from manufacturing infrastructures, but which nonetheless are not the most complex products. Third, technological advances enable more sustainable distributed production of products with unsustainable features, if technological advances are applied also to some existing distributions of manufacturing. Consideration of these three main findings and three further findings, suggests two complementary strategies for expanding sustainable manufacturing distributions: trade-off reduction and trade-off avoidance. Overall, the research is novel through its inclusion of diverse technologies and distributions of manufacturing in order to determine their relative potential to improve the production of physical goods at more diverse locations by more diverse people.
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