Digital manufacturing applicability of a laser sintered component for automotive industry: a case study

Iñigo Flores Ituarte*, Sergei Chekurov, Jukka Tuomi, Julien Etienne Mascolo, Alessandro Zanella, Patrick Springer, Jouni Partanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Additive manufacturing requires a systemic approach to help industry on technology applicability research. Towards this end, the purpose of this research is to help manufacturing business leaders decide whether digitalised manufacturing based on additive manufacturing are suitable for engineering applications and help them plan technology transfer decisions. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology is based on case study research and action research, involving a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The empirical part involved the study of the fatigue life of industrial component manufactured by laser sintering as well as a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to define a strategic decision-making. Findings: Laser-sintered plastic materials are suitable in end use automotive applications, especially when there are multiple product variations. Fatigue life of the tested coupling meets the design requirements. Additionally, production of mechanical parts can be substituted by additive methods while digitalising the manufacturing process to gain productivity, especially when there is a need for mass-customisation. Research limitations/implications: This research relies on a single case study research. The application used is unique and its technical empirical data cannot be transferred directly to other applications. Practical implications: Industry practitioners can use this research to shed light on technology transferability challenges considering technical feasibility of additive polymer materials, economic aspects as well as strategic implications for implementing digitalised manufacturing methods based on additive manufacturing. Originality/value: This research presents a combined study of technical and strategic factors for additive manufacturing transferability using an industrial mass-customisation case as an example. In addition, a new cost comparison model is presented including the impact of geometry variations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1211
Number of pages9
JournalRapid Prototyping Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Cyber physical systems
  • Digital manufacturing
  • Industry 4.0
  • Rapid manufacturing


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