Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CASSAMOBILE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 609146
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Germany
Domain: Industry

Factory on the go

A robust mini-factory that fits in a single container promises to revolutionise tailor-made manufacturing in Europe. Based on efficient 3D printing and milling, the concept has proven successful during test trials in cutting costs, speeding production and making greener products.
Factory on the go
In recent decades Asia has become a manufacturing giant, with Europe shifting away from mass production industry sectors. One way that Europe can differentiate itself however is by creating rapid, flexible, high-quality custom-made manufacturing – i.e. migrating from mass production to mass customisation.

Against this backdrop, the EU-funded project CASSAMOBILE (Flexible mini-factory for local and customized production in a container) developed an innovative manufacturing system, or ‘factory on the go’, that can deliver tailor-made products anywhere, anytime. It envisioned a mobile, modular small-footprint manufacturing system in a container that can be readily transported and configured for a variety of products and processes.

The modular concept facilitates on-site manufacturing and can easily ‘travel’ in order to avoid duplicating equipment at several production locations. Different process modules come with corresponding control systems that enable automatic configuration of the entire assembly system. A user-friendly human-machine interface, safety controls, enhanced automation and work flow manager further facilitate production, offering 3D printing for customised components.

The 3D printing feature enables the production of unlimited shapes in engineered thermoplastics, while a high-tech milling module adds to accuracy and waste reduction. One module allows easy integration of RFID tags while another offers sterilisation, ideal for producing medical devices.

Three user cases were tested and validated during the project: a mini-factory for producing bone drill guides, another for making orthotic devices, and a third for building robotic-type grippers used in industry. In the orthotics case, for example, cost of production decreased by 30 %, underlining a key benefit of plug and produce manufacturing systems.

Such technology lets manufacturers respond quickly to evolving market dynamics by offering high-value added products with quick set-up time, reduced time to market, less cost and a greener profile. The results have been disseminated through the project website, as well as through publications, events and conferences. The concept offers promising prospects for Europe’s manufacturing SMEs to shine.

Related information


Mini-factory, manufacturing, 3D printing, milling, CASSAMOBILE, plug and produce
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