Changing customer attitudes towards mass marketed products has led to the wider introduction of mass customisation: a way to produce customised products without compromising on efficiency.
The commonly-known term “mass production” describes a manufacturing line that produces a large quantity of identical products as efficiently as possible.
Mass customisation, by contrast, can involve a company designing bespoke items from scratch, or having a core set of product components with customisation options.
Technologies driving mass customisation
Software development is crucial to the mass customisation process. Product lifecycle management (PLM) systems that can integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) enable companies to establish how product customisation can change business performance.
To additively manufacture a custom part, a designer can use computer-aided design (CAD) to produce a virtual twin of the physical product. Increasingly automated software is now available to make this process easier.
The engineer can send the optimised CAD design directly to an additive manufacturing system. As a result, the bespoke part is made in very little time.
Manufacturers can introduce predictive analytics to ensure parts approaching the end of their life are ordered from a reputable supplier.
Edited from comments by Mark Proctor, Managing Director of obsolete industrial equipment supplier, EU Automation.