Evaluating the Readiness Level of Additively Manufactured Digital Spare Parts: An Industrial Perspective

Niklas Kretzschmar, Sergei Chekurov, Mika Salmi, Jukka Tuomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Additive manufacturing of digital spare parts offers promising new possibilities for companies to drastically shorten lead times and to omit storage costs. However, the concept of digital spare parts has not yet gained much footing in the manufacturing industry. This study aims to identify grounds for its selective rejection. Conducted from a corporate perspective, outlining a holistic supply chain network structure to visualize different digital spare part distribution scenarios, this survey study evaluates technical and economic additive manufacturing capabilities. Results are analyzed and discussed further by applying the Mann-Whitney test to examine the influence of the company size and the presence of 3D-printed end-use components within supply networks on gathered data. Machines’ limited build chamber volumes and the necessity of post-processing are considered as the main technical challenges of current additive manufacturing processes. Furthermore, it can be concluded that company sizes have a significant effect on perceived technological limitations. Overall, the results lead to the conclusion that the readiness level of the digital spare parts concept demands for further development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1837
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • digital spare parts
  • additive manufacturing
  • part-on-demand production
  • technical barriers
  • powder bed fusion
  • survey study
  • mann-whitney


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