Abstract

Due to the benefits associated with additive manufacturing (AM), there are increasingly more opportunities to leverage AM to enable the fabrication of components that were previously made using conventional techniques such as subtractive manufacturing or casting. To support this transition, it is critical to be able to rigorously evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of additively manufacturing an existing component design. In order to support this evaluation, this paper presents a novel feasibility analysis that performs a multi-criteria assessment of AM readiness. Along with the development of these assessments, we also present a novel scoring approach for qualitatively and quantitatively evaluating the feasibility of each component assessment. This scoring approach, which leverages preference models from Physical Programming, introduces a flexible set of feasibility levels to assess the manufacturability capabilities of AM technologies. It also allows for the integration of a designer's preferences towards the AM assessments, supporting the decision whether to utilize AM technologies or not. The presented feasibility analysis allows for both technical and economic benefits since it suggests only using AM for those products whose feasibility results are within suitable ranges. The details of the approach are illustrated using four sample parts with varying geometries. Experimental validation is also performed to demonstrate the robustness of the evaluation. Results obtained show the capability and generalizability of these approaches to analyze intricate geometries and provide useful decision support in AM feasibility analysis.

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