The progression of additive manufacturing—from being limited to producing prototypes to being a valuable technology in producing end-use components—has been noted by many researchers and companies. Nevertheless, the industrial opportunities of this progress are not clear to new users of the technology because the number of end-use applications for additive manufacturing is vast and growing rapidly. The major advantages of using additive manufacturing lie in the increased freedom of design and the possibility to produce components that have previously been impractical. On the other hand, additive manufacturing can also be used in situations where the component does not benefit from the additional design freedom. In such cases, the advantage of using additive manufacturing must come from operational benefits, such as improved delivery speed or cheaper manufacturing cost.
To clarify the opportunities, the thesis proposes categorizing the end-use applications from the point of view of design into "components designed for additive manufacturing", "components redesigned for additive manufacturing", and "components not designed for additive manufacturing". Each of these categories has their use in industrial applications and can help achieve specific technical and operational benefits. In the thesis, the categories are provided with design workflows that draw from the design process of Pahl & Beitz and are augmented with relevant previous research from the field of design for additive manufacturing.
To investigate the industrial opportunities in the form of technical and operational advantages of the categories, the thesis demonstrates the use of the categories and their workflows by providing a case study for each. In the case studies, the design process of the components is demonstrated with the help of the developed design workflows, and the technical and operational benefits of each component are evaluated. The case studies of the categories involve the design of a novel high-performance heat exchanger, the redesign of a digital hydraulic valve manifold, and the production of a memory cover for use in the repair of a portable computer. In addition, the thesis contains a focus group study in the category "components not designed for additive manufacturing" to discover in which scenarios it could be employed.
In the final section of the thesis, the technical and operational advantages of using additive manufacturing in each of the categories are collected and presented. The main technical advantages discovered in the investigations were the creation of new functionalities and improvement of performance, and the main operational benefits were the simplification of supply chains and shorter repairs. The thesis gives researchers in the field of design for additive manufacturing a framework to communicate their findings in a way that can be understood easily by practitioners not previously intimately familiar with designing for additive manufacturing.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
- additive manufacturing, 3D printing, design workflow