Re: Mass Customization

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 02:44:36 EET

For those small numbers of people willing to pay the extra for customized styling, I suspect you could be right. Actually, you wouldn't even need to standardize the bolt locations, as long as the part interface can be scanned accurately into the system. The big companies might even welcome design experimentation and might want to be informed of improvements and failures (such as materials mismatches that result in parts falling off, crashes, and so forth) experienced by such lead users. I don't deny the logic and technical feasibility of what you say. I just think market experience indicates most people aren't willing to pay extra. Even in jewerly and art, where you would think uniqueness would be primary and where safety is not an issue (in most cases), the volume of custom work pales in comparison to the mass of manufactured stuff.

Steven Pollack wrote:
>While RP may be a ways away from making completely original designs for >standard models of cars, one thing it can do is make manufacturing smaller batches >economically feasible.  Whereas auto manufacturing tool and die creation >and setup charges may only amortize at volume over 100,000 RP may make it feasible to >setup smaller production in the 1,000's of units.  The CAD system in that >case, instead of offering unlimited variation in the shape of the hood might allow >for a dozen variations which is 11 more than we have to choose from today per >model.  The bolt locations would be fixed per model or model type while the styling >would change.  The biggest issues are where the parts interfacce with other >parts so they would need to come to a common plane or arc.
>If I am correct in the feasibility of smaller batches then RP may enable >smaller boutique type auto manufacturers to flourish.
>Brock Hinzmann wrote:
>Terry's note reminds me of a couple virtual car companies that some >former big3 execs tried to form a couple years back. They may still be in >business. The idea was to allow people to log in and design their custom car >on-line. The virtual car company would then contract out all of the >components to suppliers or even to the OEMs. I guess it's not much >different than what the OEMs do now. I just didn't see how you could rely on >the current supplier system to make sure a Mercedes hood would fit on a >PT Cruiser (to use a really bad example). To take it further, how flexible are >suppliers in responding to someone requesting, say, a shower and a bath >tub in the back of their van? Still further out is the notion of using RP to >make completely original designs and parts that will fit the standard model?
>Brock HInzmann

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