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.

Informing Additive Manufacturing Technology Adoption: Total Cost and the Impact of Capacity Utilisation

l. beltrametti;a. gasparre;
2017

Abstract

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.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/886498
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