Seattle-based Modica builds interconnected systems for micromanufacturing and houses it all in shipping containers. (Modica Image)
Watching stacks of shipping containers come and go from Seattle’s waterfront, you might wonder what’s in them, where they came from and where they’re headed. One Seattle startup isn’t filling the brightly colored boxes with merchandise and is instead using containers to house microfactories that can churn out products anywhere in the world.
About Modica: Launched in 2018 and based in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, Modica builds factory-as-a-service modules. Founder and CEO William Gibbs has worked in aerospace, food processing and general factory automation and robotics. He previously ran and then sold a small systems integration firm called Corvus and Columba.
Modica CEO Will Gibbs. (Modica Photo)
Systems integration is basically the building of factories, where a company determines what product you need to make, which robots to use, conveyors, custom tooling and more. Modica is adapting modular construction technologies and generative design techniques to the way entire factories are built, in order to build them faster and prevent shortages like many experienced early in the pandemic.
Tech HQ recently called the microfactory “the next big thing in manufacturing,” enabling the setup of small-to-medium scale, highly automated, technologically advanced manufacturing possessing a wide range of processes.
What’s in a name? Modica takes its name from the word modicum, which means a small portion of something. Gibbs says Modica is “many small things repeated many times. It plays into what we do — we modify shipping containers so the ‘mod’ part makes sense.”
Why shipping containers? Gibbs said the modular form factor can be parallelized and pre-built and then brought together. They start with containers because they’re compatible with global logistics and you can get one virtually anywhere and send one virtually anywhere.
“If you’re making small devices, most of the …read more