Open-Source Could Be A New Avenue For Manufacturers

Chris Fox | Manufacturing.Net | July 23, 2014

Have you heard about the open-source revolution? Like 3D printing, it only recently made its way into the mainstream, but like the additive manufacturing machines, it has been around for a while.  Open-source technology (hardware, firmware, software) has been the spur of the maker movement and continues to drive the cogs of at-home manufacturing. Many industry experts might relegate information like this to the “con” column of industry analysis, but something larger is happening with this technology.

Makers and entrepreneurs are beginning to not only create products at home, but also develop better, leaner designs and production processes. Customers who need small, cheap plastic components may wane or disappear, because they can create the components at home for a slightly elevated cost (potentially cheaper than overnight shipping) – this is advantageous for manufacturers and those in the industrial marketplace. The advantage comes in what these tinkerers need to supplement their design and at-home-manufacturing process. Just because they manufacture at home, doesn’t mean they no longer need manufactured goods.

Enter the open-source movement. As everything is more readily available via the internet (even instantly available), the compulsion toward paying for items placed in the ether has diminished, as has the consumer-perceived value of these products...