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The Next Production Revolution

Implications for Governments and Business

image of The Next Production Revolution

This publication examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution”. These include a variety of digital technologies (e.g. the Internet of Things and advanced robotics), industrial biotechnology, 3D printing, new materials and nanotechnology. Some of these technologies are already used in production, while others will be available in the near future. All are developing rapidly. As these technologies transform the production and the distribution of goods and services, they will have far-reaching consequences for productivity, skills, income distribution, well-being and the environment. The more that governments and firms understand how production could develop in the near future, the better placed they will be to address the risks and reap the benefits.

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Revolutionising product design and performance with materials innovation

Increasing the rate of discovery and development of new and improved materials is key to enhancing product development and facilitating mass customisation based on emerging technologies such as 3D printing. Acceleration of materials discovery and development has been enabled by advances along multiple fronts, including capabilities of scientific instrumentation, high performance computing combined with more predictive computational methods for material structure and properties, and data analytics. Historically it has taken 15 to 20 years from laboratory discovery of new materials to their deployment in products. Systematic methods for accelerated materials discovery and development are still in early stages in the new digital era. Prospects are bright for realising a materials innovation ecosystem necessary to integrate new materials with digital manufacturing technologies to achieve new product functionality. A range of initiatives, gaps, and key policy issues to be addressed are discussed in this chapter.

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