Informing additive manufacturing technology adoption: total cost and the impact of capacity utilisation

Baumers, Martin and Beltrametti, Luca and Gasparre, Angelo and Hague, Richard (2017) Informing additive manufacturing technology adoption: total cost and the impact of capacity utilisation. International Journal of Production Research, 55 (23). pp. 6957-6970. ISSN 1366-588X

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Informing Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology adoption decisions, this paper investigates the relationship between build volume capacity utilisation and efficient technology operation in an inter-process comparison of the costs of manufacturing a complex component used in the packaging industry. Confronting the reported costs of a conventional machining and welding pathway with an estimator of the costs incurred through an AM route utilising Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), we weave together four aspects: optimised capacity utilisation, ancillary process steps, the effect of build failure and design adaptation. Recognising that AM users can fill unused machine capacity with other, potentially unrelated, geometries, we posit a characteristic of ‘fungible’ build capacity. This aspect is integrated in the cost estimation framework through computational build volume packing, drawing on a basket of sample geometries. We show that the unit cost in mixed builds at full capacity is lower than in builds limited to a single type of geometry; in our study, this results in a mean unit cost overstatement of 157%. The estimated manufacturing cost savings from AM adoption range from 36 to 46%. Additionally, we indicate that operating cost savings resulting from design adaptation are likely to far outweigh the manufacturing cost advantage.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Production Research on 6 June 2017, available online:
Keywords: rapid manufacturing, cost estimating, operational research, additive manufacturing, build volume packing, technology selection
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Engineering
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 08:01
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2018 09:13

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