FirstBuild is Louisville’s first microfactory

Louisville is quite lucky (for so many reasons!), but today I’m going to focus on the new FirstBuild microfactory that opened on the University of Louisville campus in July. A partnership between GE, GE Appliances, Local Motors and the University, FirstBuild is introducing the next generation of appliances – designed, built and sold using an online community co-creation and micromanufacturing model, which will revolutionize the way things are made.

The concept is a unique collaboration between a physical community and an online community whose ideas build upon each other to help design products and solve engineering questions. And the end result? Consumer-driven products in the market at a rapid pace. Until now, customization and speed to market presented challenges for mass appliance manufacturers like GE Appliances. FirstBuild not only enables customization through small-batch production, but also helps get these products to market faster than ever before without the cost and risk of traditional mass manufacturing.

FirstBuild community members will submit ideas, vote on which concepts become challenges or projects, and determine which products move on to production. Prizes and sales royalties will be awarded to community members who make significant contributions. To learn more, sign up at FirstBuild.com.

Mary Beckmann, community lead, works in the FirstBuild lab where community members come together to build prototypes of next generation appliances.

Mary Beckmann, community lead, works in the FirstBuild lab where community members come together to build prototypes of next generation appliances.

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