The question of what the world might look like in the next 60 years was the challenge given to delegates at Cranfield’s Manufacturing 2075 event.

Manufacturing 2075 is a new annual event at Cranfield University which provides a forum to consider the global challenges faced by modern manufacturing and the research and skill requirements needed in the future.

Professor Raj Roy, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University, said: “This event provided the ideal environment for discussing views on the future of manufacturing which will help to shape our research and education direction in the short and long term. As a globally recognised university with close business links, it will help to reinforce our understanding of the requirements to ensure timely, practical and innovative solutions.”

Discussions at the event included manufacturing on the moon, the feasibility of moon colonisation and the concept of flying farms in space, operated by robots. Other considerations regarding the Earth’s environment were discussed with many of the basic materials we’ve come to rely on - metals, minerals and oil-based plastics -   being unavailable or in short supply by 2075.

International speakers included Professor Steve Evans from the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge who explained his “foraging factories”, which make use of locally available materials sourced using the Internet of Things -  which utilises ‘smart’ internet connected devices.  Professor  Inoue, Director of the International Institute for Green Materials, Josai University in Japan who highlighted the vast market potential for bulk metallic glasses which will be the basis of mass-produced and eco-friendly electronic components. And, Dr Bernard Foing, Executive Director, International Lunar Exploration Working Group from the European Space Agency who is already working on a manned Moon Village, which will be created by robots and initially inhabited by 10 people, by 2030.

A report summarising topics discussed at the event will be produced in the New Year, which it is hoped will influence the debate about future research and education direction and motivate industry around the World. 

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

About Cranfield Manufacturing

We provide world-class and niche research, education, training and consultancy in manufacturing and play a key role in ensuring that the UK remains at the cutting edge of manufacturing research.

We are unique in our multi-disciplinary approach by bringing together design, technology and management insight. We are a driving force for both the rapid growth of established areas of manufacturing expertise and the development of new research areas.

Research partnerships are undertaken with more than 500 organisations of all sizes and disciplines and industry advisory panels ensure our graduates move seamlessly from the academic world into the world of work and provide skills the sector needs.

Our world-class facilities include the Ultra Precision Machining Laboratory, which houses a range of ultra-precision diamond turning machines and is the UK's national facility for large x-ray optics manufacture.