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

Baumers, Martin, Beltrametti, Luca, 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

Full text not available from this repository.


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
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 08:01
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:49

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View