Assessing industrial barriers of additively manufactured digital spare part implementation in the machine-building industry: a cross-organizational focus group interview study

Sergei Chekurov*, Mika Salmi, Victor Verboeket, Tuomas Puttonen, Tuomas Riipinen, Antti Vaajoki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: Although additive manufacturing (AM) has been demonstrated to have significant potential in improving spare part delivery operations and has been adopted to a degree in the aviation and automotive industries, its use in spare part production is still limited in other fields due to a variety of implementation barriers. The purpose of this article is to assess the significance of previously reported barriers in the context of the machine-building industry.

Design/methodology/approach
Adoption barriers are identified from the literature and formulated as hypotheses, which are verified with a set of focus group interviews consisting of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), AM service providers and quality inspection and insurance institutions. The results of the interviews are reported qualitatively, and the transcripts of the interviews are subjected to quantitative content analysis.

Findings
The article identifies distrust in quality, insufficient material and design knowledge among stakeholders and poor availability of design documentation on spare parts as the key barriers of adopting AM in the production of spare parts. The three key barriers are interconnected and training engineers to be proficient in design and material issues as well as producing high-quality design documentation will yield the highest increase in AM implementation in spare parts.

Originality/value
The article offers a unique approach as it investigates the subjective views of a cross-organizational group of industrial actors involved in the machine-building industry. The article contributes to the theory of digital spare parts by verifying and rejecting presented barriers of AM implementation and how they are interconnected.

Keywords
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Early online date19 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • additive manufacturing
  • 3D printing
  • digital spare parts
  • implementation barriers
  • qualitative content analysis
  • focus group interview research

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