Assessment of additively manufactured end-use components: Current state and incremental improvements in design, materials, and decision making

Niklas Kretzschmar

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Increasingly integrated into various fields of industries as rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing applications, since first commercialized in 1987, are layer-wise additive manufacturing (AM) techniques. Among those, end-use AM applications are particularly challenged, however, by economic and technological obstacles including slow production speeds, high material cost, insufficient part quality repeatability and (bio)material unavailability. This thesis aims at both exploring the economic and technological current state of AM end-use components, and providing incremental development steps in design, material, and decision-making.To assess the current state of end-use AM, a computer-driven decision support system (DSS) for rapid economic assessments of uploaded components supported by a case study is developed and an industry-related survey is conducted to match the demands for AM with the existing capabilities of AM. The current situation can be further improved by introducing new incremental developments concerning experimental material development, AM process-configurations, (re)design, and component classifica-tion based on case studies. These enhancements aim at developing new biocomposite materials for AM, implementing the axiomatic design meth-odology to design for AM (DfAM), and classifying end-use AM components according to the level of DfAM. The final version of the DSS provides rapid online quotations of uploaded digitized components to obtain insights into costs and production times for varying machine, material, and distribution scenarios (conventional manufacturing versus AM, make-or-buy decisions). In this context, the tool was used to demonstrate the trade-off between feature-resolution and production speed on cost, which constitutes the importance of production speeds as a cost-driver in AM part production. However, further increases alone have no significant cost-saving potential for the already existing high-end metal powder bed fusion machines considering high production throughput scenarios. Thus, expenses on materials need lowering to increase cost efficiency. The underlying technological state of end-use AM components involved comparing size-, material-, and surface roughness demands with best-in-class and locally installed AM system capabilities. The incremental developments imply that traditional design methodologies are applicable for AM and can potentially assist designers in DfAM. Components designed for the use of AM techniques can be logically classified according to their level of DfAM exploitation. Furthermore, the newly developed biocomposite material and its inherent process variations lead to new opportunities in environmental sustainability and design freedom, opening up new possibilities for AM part production.
Translated title of the contributionAssessment of additively manufactured end-use components - Current state and incremental improvements in design, materials, and decision making
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Partanen, Jouni, Supervising Professor
  • Salmi, Mika, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8938-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8939-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • additive manufacturing
  • digital workflow
  • part assessment
  • material testing


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