“Fast prototyping should no longer be the goal. Smart prototyping should be.”

When the phrase, “advanced manufacturing,” first burst onto the scene a few years ago, few of us knew what to make of it. Did it apply literally to how things were made, like with CNC machining or 3D printing? Was it a reference to robotics and other trends affecting the changing factory floor like wearables and AR? Or did it mean the increasing amount of new-fangled, high-tech products manufacturers were making? The shift of business operations into the cloud? The coming Industrial Internet of Things?

The concern over a solid definition wasn’t a philosophical one. Like all things in the manufacturing business, shifting realities always result in shifting markets and profit margins. If manufacturing was advancing, we needed to figure out how to leverage that advance for competitive gain. Of course, leveraging what you don’t quite have a bead on isn’t easy.

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3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, The Fastener Museum