Additive manufacturing (AM) systems have evolved drastically bringing the technology to the spotlight of manufacturing digitalization. Incremental technology improvements allow new possibilities in manufacturing, unlocking a number of serious applications. However, there are still gaps between the technological projections and the practical constrains of the technology. In this regard, research based on case studies is helping firms to evaluate factors for technology adoption. With this in mind, the purpose in this research is to advance on AM direct digital applications and its integration with secondary processes in order to drive the technology to industrialization. This dissertation is built upon four interrelated case studies. The scientific contribution is grounded on cross case analysis and mixed methods for research. This aided to link industry relevant applications with academic research methods to finally construct new knowledge on strategic, operational, technical and environmental factors for AM implementation. Results show that direct digital manufacturing of low volume plastic structural components are feasible, when geometrical and mechanical requirement are meet. Especially in pre-series production and highly customizable components. Nevertheless, parts will often require secondary manufacturing operations. Besides, the need for removal of support structures, secondary operations are implemented to obtain engineering specifications. Results in this regard show that hybrid processes can be combined and automated to create parts with tight geometrical and dimensional requirements. However, its environmental feasibility is dependent on the material volume removal ratio subtracted from the initial stock. AM systems are not always intrinsically at disadvantage in medium and high volume production industries. Factors such as geometry variability and the elimination of tooling reduces upfront cost prevalent on conventional methods manuafcturing. Nevertheless, AM systems are still in the industrialization process that require integration with conventional manufacturing methods for secondary operations. To this end, future research and development activities should take a holistic perspective considering multiple factor for technology transfer. During the coming years firms will need to look at their legacy products to identify potential benefits of AM implementation with a life cycle perspective. However, the big opportunities are yet to come when technology improves and additive methods are taken into consideration early in the design stages as a manufacturing solution.
- , Valvoja
- , Ohjaaja
- Eric Coatanéa, Ohjaaja
|Tila||Julkaistu - 2017|
|OKM-julkaisutyyppi||G5 Tohtorinväitöskirja (artikkeli)|