Seed Factories

A Seed Factory is a new kind of production system which has two major differences from conventional factories: self-expansion and integration.

It includes a starter set of equipment which can expand in three ways to a larger capacity, while also making useful products:

Replication – making copies of its own parts so as to eventually copy the entire set.
Diversification – making parts for new equipment, thus expanding the range of possible outputs.
Scaling – making parts for larger equipment than what is in the starter set.

The factory is designed as an integrated system. It brings together multiple production steps from raw materials and energy to finished items. Each part of the factory produces resources needed by the other parts to function, making it self-sustaining. Since the parts are all in one place, the whole production chain can take advantage of automation and robotics. Integrated processes can also take waste outputs from one step, and use them as inputs for another. The combination results in a highly efficient design.

As the factory expands, it produces a growing variety of products for end users, and an increasing percentage of the items for its own growth. The relatively low cost of a starter kit, and the low operating cost from integrated processes and automation, make this system very desirable on an economic basis.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Seed_Factories

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