"The term "lights out" has been used to describe fully automated factories. Human hands never touch the products during the manufacturing process. IBM already has a keyboard assembly factory in Texas that is already totally lights out. A few engineers and technicians are on-site to support the machines producing computer keyboards. People drive trucks up to the factory doors, delivering raw materials and picking up finished products. The factory operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with down time only for scheduled maintenance or repair."
You may recall the old automation wisecrack, "The fully automated factory of the future employs only one man and a dog. The dog is there to make sure the man doesn't touch anything, and the man is there to feed the dog."
- Fully automated factories approach reality, Automation World, October 2003.
- Your Inkjet Printer as a Replicator - a collection of random facts and links on personal manufacturing and related subjects
- Additive Manufacturing Various 'universal manufacturing' techniques which build objects up in layers. Includes MIT's powder-inkjet-glue method and concept art for a house-building system.
- Mindstorms Autofabrik - simple custom manufacturing using Logos. An illustration of future possibilities.