Challenges to implementing additive manufacturing in globalised production environments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper presents the current state of additive manufacturing (AM)
implementation in complex supply chains, focussing especially on the
globalised consumer electronics industry. A literature review sought to identify
bottlenecks to technology transfer, while a qualitative study was carried out
using interviews with case company personnel. Finally, an industry survey was
used to quantitatively evaluate current production costs and delivery times for
AM units. The results highlight the considerable barriers to transferring AM
technology to engineering applications. However, there is an untapped potential
for manufacturing applications in small-series and pre-series production at the
product refinement stages. Furthermore, future projections of AM production
throughput and cost reductions will disrupt organisational supply chains. This
will lead organisations to create faster design, development and manufacturing
cycles, unlocking novel applications and introducing new possibilities to
change product architecture at any stage of the product development while
compressing the supply chain and allowing for quick responses to changing
customer demands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-247
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • additive manufacturing
  • 3D printing
  • advanced manufacturing technology
  • rapid manufacturing
  • digital manufacturing
  • Technology Transfer
  • supply chain simplification.


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