We are currently living in a world where more and more data is captured throughout a product’s life cycle (from design to product retirement). Furthermore, due to digital manufacturing concepts, like the Internet of Things, data is increasingly been made to available to manufacturers in, or close to, real-time. Integrating customer data into the product design process is regarded as essential in the next generation of personalised products for manufacturers to remain competitive. This will require creative thinking to reconsider how data can be effectively utilised in the design process. Furthermore, we envision that traditional manufacturing teams will be expanded to incorporate representatives from disciplines including computer science, human factors, business, sociology, innovation and design. Learning can be taken from how digital technologies, such as AI, machine learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality, have been applied within these disciplines and transferred to manufacturing.  

The focus of the creative manufacturing and customisation thematic area is to demonstrate new ways by which digital technologies may inspire and accelerate the creative process to manufacture the next generation of personalised products. The theme will address questions such as:

  • As more customer data is feedback from digital products into the design process, will this improve or stifle creative manufacturing?
  • Numerous examples exist that show, to mixed success, AI capability to compose music and write books, but can AI design a car and the systems that build that car?
  • How have digital technologies, now that software is much more accessible, inspired creativity in other (non-engineering) disciplines and can these approaches translate into designing agile manufacturing products and processes?
  • Can creativity enable manufacturing to be more sustainable and reduce the barriers to try new solutions; for example, by using 3D printing?