Up to 70% of the carbon emissions from food production activities can be created during transportation. This project intends to establish the feasibility of the application of distributed manufacturing to specific products in the food sector in order to reduce environmental impact and support local economies. The objective is to change the way manufacturing activities are structured to develop an innovative and more sustainable way of creating food products in the future.
The term ‘Distributed Manufacturing’ (DM) refers to a conglomerate of distributed and autonomous production units which operate as a set of cooperating entities. The unique attributes of food products, such as perishability and stringent storage, make them considerably different to other manufactured goods, and particularly suitable for localised, distributed manufacturing.
This project aims to establish the feasibility of the application of DM to specific products in the food sector in order to reduce environmental impact and support local economies. The need for such a shift towards smaller scale local manufacturing has been highlighted by a range of factors such as changes in transport and labour costs, the availability and access to materials, energy and water and the need for long-term resilience to market changes.
• Feasibility Assessment of DM
A range of specific characteristics and attributes associated with a food product will be used within a specially designed decision support model to assess the applicability of DM to a particular food sector.
• Detail Modelling of Distributed Manufacturing
A simulation based approach will be used to provide a what-if scenario analysis capability to assess and evaluate the 'Key environmental and economical
Performance Indicators (Ke2PIs)', associated with DM.
• Distributed Planning and Management
A set of guidelines and algorithms will be developed to aid with future planning of distributed and localised food manufacturing.