Grand Challenges in Smart Manufacturing Research – A CONFIRM View – Part 2

In a series of blogs, CONFIRM, the SFI funded Centre for Smart Manufacturing Research will talk about how it visualises the future of Smart Manufacturing and will address the emerging Grand Challenges in this area. CONFIRM will also talk about the aspects of Smart Manufacturing they will focus on by means of newly devised research themes that will govern the Centre’s activities in Phase 2 of its research programme (2023-2029).

Here, blog 2 will go into more detail on the ‘Missions’ that CONFIRM have identified for the Grand Challenge of ‘Sustainable Resilient Manufacturing’

Blog 2 – Missions (part 1)

The missions that CONFIRM has defined are carefully designed to meet the two identified Grand Challenges of Resilient Manufacturing Systems and Future Ready Workforce. In responding to the challenges, the missions will deliver significant impact and provide clarity that ensures all underlying research themes are strategically aligned and collaborative from the outset. For each of these five missions, CONFIRM will develop exemplar digital-physical mission demonstrators for exploitation to industry, government, public and other stakeholders.

Resilient Manufacturing Systems – Missions x 3

  • Distributed Making
    • This mission will develop an adaptable, reconfigurable, intelligent, secure, and distributed factory to enable decentralised local production that is closer to the end consumer. This is in turn more sustainable and offers a means by which regions can boost knowledge capital and the integrity of their supply base by localising some core manufacturing capability.
  • Green Supply Chain
    • This mission involves developing net-zero emissions factories, production systems and logistics, enabling the redesign of end-to-end supply chains such that they are ethical and environmentally friendly, reducing environmental impact and social exploitation.
  • Flexible Manufacturing Cell
    • This mission entails developing a cloud-driven, robotics based, modular, cognitive, reconfigurable manufacturing cell that can easily be reconfigured in response to new production requirements and enable smaller batch sizes. It makes production facilities more adaptable to market changes.


Embedding resilience in manufacturing will entail developing critical infrastructure, building a flexible supply base, and facilitating transparent information flows. The three missions outlined here will support those objectives and feed into realising the Grand Challenge of Resilient Manufacturing Systems.

Blog 3 will go into more detail on the ‘Missions’ that CONFIRM have identified for the Grand Challenge of ‘Future Ready Workforce’

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