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Manufacturing industry has been one of the key drivers for recent rapid global economic development. Globalisation of manufacturing industries due to distributed design and labour advantage leads to a drive and thirst for technological advancements and expertise in the fields of advanced design and manufacturing. This development results in many economical benefits to and improvement of quality of life for many people all over the world. This rapid development also creates many opportunities and challenges for both industrialists and academics, as the design requirements and constraints have completely changed in this global design and manufacture environment. Consequently the way to design, manufacture and realise products have changed as well. More and more design and manufacture tasks can now be undertaken within computer environment using simulation and virtual reality technologies. These technological advancements hence support more advanced product development and manufacturing operations in such a global design and manufacturing environment. In this global context and scenario, both industry and the academia have an urgent need to equip themselves with the latest knowledge, technology and methods developed for engineering design and manufacture.
During the past decade there have been many changes in the perfumery industry which are not so much due to the discovery and application of new raw materials, but rather to the astronomic increase in the cost of labour required to produce them. This is reflected more particularly in the flower industry, where the cost of collecting the blossoms delivered to the factories has gone up year after year, so much so that most flowers with the possible exception of Mimosa, have reached a cost price which has compelled the perfumer to either reduce his purchases of absolutes and concretes, or alternatively to substitute them from a cheaper source, or even to discontinue their use. This development raises an important and almost insoluble problem for the perfumer, who is faced with the necessity of trying to keep unchanged the bouquet of his fragrances, and moreover, to ensure no loss of strength and diffusiveness. Of course, this problem applies more especially to the adjustment of formulae for established perfumes, because in every new creation the present high cost of raw materials receives imperative con- sideration before the formula is approved.
The cultural importance, dependencies and mechanics of manufacture in Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution are understudied areas of research. In the case of French royal manufacture during the ancien regime, art-historical interest first awakened in the latter half of the nineteenth century with the publication of several descriptive texts that made archival sources available to a wider public. This volume on the Manufacture royale des meubles de la couronne aux Gobelins examines the current state of research on the royal workshops and indicates the manner by which this research can both extend and challenge the prevailing trends in the historiography of the Gobelins.
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