Manufacturing in NY – Takeaways from DFM Summit

The Design for Manufacturing (DFM) Summit is in its 5th year of bringing together product developers, industrial designers, engineers, makers, and manufacturers to converse around, plan, and achieve a leaner manufacturing ecosystem. With summits spread across Europe, England, and Canada, we were eager to hop on an opportunity to join the narrative as soon as we saw a New York event date.

Sanket and I attended DFM Summit #20, which was nestled in the heart of “Silicon Alley,” or DUMBO, Brooklyn, as we locals call it. Brooklyn has a history of being a center for manufacturing, and hometown pride ran high as many manufacturers in the room were based in the neighboring Brooklyn Navy Yard.

manufacturing in ny summit

The day was split into panels and presentations around the current state of manufacturing, the future of manufacturing, and changes in design software, with networking sessions intermixed between talks, cheese trays, and Brooklyn Lager.

Here’s what we found interesting!

Creativity in NYC is at an all time high.

Jack Abel, founder of Watermark, a leading manufacturer of high end bath fittings, faucets, and accessories, was a standout in the first panel “Manufacturing in New York.” He energized the room by discussing New York City and its status as a thought leader for innovation in manufacturing. At Watermark, they’re able to work with area architects in creative synergy, and go back to their factory and implement rapid product development from these ideas.

Automation is creating more jobs, not taking them

The second panel, “Factory Floor in 2030,” explained the correlation between the democratization of manufacturing and the rise of urban manufacturing. Ultimately, automation enables manufacturing to take place in smaller spaces and is creating new jobs along the way.  

Location, Location, Location

The other half of “Factory Floor in 2030,” featured a fascinating conversation led by Nina Rappaport, author of Vertical Urban Factory, about mixed use living and working spaces, vertical real estate for factories, and showroom factories. Can you imagine walking into a retailer to buy a pair of over the ear bluetooth headphones, looking back behind the registers and seeing a robotic arm assemble the pair of headphones you’re there to purchase? Entertaining, right? Well, that’s the type of new age shops that are on the horizon!

We enjoyed ourselves at DFM Summit. Did you!?

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