Seed Factories and Self-Improving Systems
|A Seed Factory is a new kind of production system with great potential. It has two major differences from conventional factories: growth and integration. Like any factory, it makes useful end products. But part of the output can be used to make more equipment for the factory itself. Since output is proportional to how much equipment you have, total capacity can grow exponentially. Growth can be directed to a desired mature capacity, or open-ended.
The "seed" is a starter set of equipment designed to grow in three ways:
The factory is also designed as an integrated system. It brings together multiple production steps from raw materials and energy to finished items. Each section of the factory produces resources needed by other sections to function, making it more self-sustaining over time. Factories can be localized (in one place) or distributed (sections in multiple places). They may start with manual tools and equipment, but try to take advantage of modern information technology, automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Integrated processes can also take waste outputs from one step, and use them as inputs for another. The combination of integration and modern technologies results in a highly efficient design.
As the factory expands, it can produce a growing variety of products for end users. As it diversifies it can also make an increasing percentage of parts for its own growth. The small size and relative simplicity of the starter set makes it low cost, while the much larger capacity it evolves to can produce a high income. Combined with the low operating cost from integrated processes and automation, this type of system should be very desirable on an economic basis.
Although it is a new way to organize production, Seed Factories build on past experience in fields like Industrial Technology and Engineering. This book will describe the concept of Seed Factories in more detail, methods for designing them, and give several design examples. It is being written as part of a project to develop the first working Seed Factory prototypes.
Table of Contents
3.0: Design Concepts
4.0: Design Process
- Functional Analysis & Allocate Requirements
- Alternatives & System Modeling
- Production Processes
- Equipment Types
5.0: Personal Production
6.0: The MakerNet
7.0: Industrial Production
9.0: Conceptual Design Notes
- page 1: General Notes || Notes for Section 5.0 - Community Factory: Requirements, Functions
- page 2: System Modeling
- page 3: Alternatives, Habitation, Transport, Production Technologies
- page 4: Production Alternatives
- page 5, page 6, page 7: Develop Alternatives
- page 8: Design Baseline
- page 9: Notes for Section 7.0 - Distributed Production Network
- page 10: Notes transferred from Space Transport Wikibook