Week 7: Infrastructure

Our course is currently focusing on infrastructure. Cleber LLC and their Oggun tractor have been working on revolutionizing the farming industry. Though the design is based on a 60-year-old model, they have managed to change some key components in the machine regarding the frame. The design is perfect for subsistence farming found all over the globe and will assist in increasing agricultural production in those countries. Cleber has also created an “open source manufacturing model that will be easy to fix and maintain.” (NPR) By doing so, farmers will be able to keep their tractors running and up to date. Contrastingly to other companies whose goal is to force consumers to buy a new machine once theirs breaks down, Cleber focuses on maintenance. Their tractors are expensive, between $8,000-$10,000, and most farmers in their market would not be able to afford new tractors if theirs were to break down. Their business model is perfect for subsistence farming. Through open source maintenance, farmers will be able to continuously produce more goods on their farm. As Cuba begins to attract more and more tourists and businesses, the need for tractors will only continue to grow in order to counter the demand for goods. This, in turn, could help drive industry and encourage a shift from a subsistence lifestyle to an urban one.

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The infrastructure sector is a billion dollar industry. With firms such as Bechtel Corp., who built the Hoover Dam and the Dulles Airport Silver Line expansion, and Fluor Corp., who built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, there has been significant amounts research and development put into their projects. They have completed some of the largest modern architectural designs in the world. There is a lot of IP that is created as a result of the designs of these projects, however, if these firms were to use or upload their open source designs, they could make their projects much cheaper and safer. With the help of other infrastructure firms, through the use of open source, a firm could significantly increase their efficiency and greatly decrease the time it takes to complete their tasks. “The problems on the $1-billion-plus megaprojects Bechtel had in mind reflect the shortcomings of engineering and construction.” (ENR) The construction industry runs into continuous problems in the design and development of their projects. The use of open source could greatly reduce the number of setbacks that they face. Not only will their firms perform better, but the infrastructure that they create will be better fit for society as well.

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