Additive Manufacturing (AM) — one of several core digital technologies in “Industry 4.0” — is increasingly being deployed in industrial-scale contexts. The successful serial production of end-use polymer and metal components has demonstrated the possibility of AM as a primary production process in several applications. However, one of the principal challenges to greater adoption is a lack of organizational mastery over AM’s implementation in production contexts, and, more specifically, the absence of clear decision-making tools to facilitate exploration of implementation scenarios. To this end, this work proposes the use of a discrete-event simulation-based software modelling tool to investigate the influences of different facility-level planning decisions on techno-economic characteristics of serial production by AM. By changing key parameters, this tool enables users to observe variation in part cost, identify the contributions of individual system elements to part cost, and assess overall system throughput. The tool enables users to identify locally optimal solutions and make corresponding planning decisions, and to explore limiting cases of cost and lead time. In conclusion, we identify the limitations in the current modeling approach, and propose additional directions for future study.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.