To be profitable and to generate sustainable value for all stakeholders, next generation manufacturers must develop capabilities to rapidly and economically respond to changing market needs while at the same time minimizing adverse impacts on the environment and benefiting society. 6R-based (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacturing) sustainable manufacturing practices enable closed-loop and multi-life cycle material flow; they facilitate producing more sustainable products using manufacturing processes and systems that are more sustainable. Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS) and its characteristics of scalability, convertibility, diagnosability, customization, modularity and integrability have emerged as a basis for living factories for next generation manufacturing that can significantly enhance the system sustainability by quickly adjusting system configuration and production processes to meet the market needs, and maintain the system values for generations of products. This paper examines the significance of developing such next generation manufacturing systems as the basis for futuristic sustainable living factories by adapting, integrating and implementing the RMS characteristics with the principles of sustainable manufacturing to achieve value creation for all stakeholders.

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Published in Procedia Manufacturing, v. 21, p. 26-36.

© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Under a Creative Commons license.

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