Manufacturing comes in many shapes and sizes. High volume, low volume. Simple products or enormously complex products. Graph the manufacaturing universe with volumes as the X axis and complexity as the Y axis and you will see data points all over the place, although of course the densest region is the center. At Zebulon Solutions, we’ve done our share of high volume products. And we’ve done some really complex stuff too, with volumes in the 10s or 100s.
But a couple of weeks ago, Teresa and I had the opportunity to visit the manufactuirng arm of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, LASP for short. Where they live in that far top left corner, building one-off instrument packages for spaceflight.
It’s a whole different world, not only due to the lowest possible volumes but also because the proverbial Maytag repairman does not make house calls on the surface of Mars. So we saw endless vacuum chambers, test stations and quality control setups, along with some really high end CNC equipment and a bunch of machines that I honestly have no clue as to what they do. All in clean room environments, all with really smart engineers and technicians running the show.
To say this is not for everyone is an understatement, but it is the right answer for a certain class of products, up in that far left corner.