Research paper in collaboration with the faculty of engineering (LTH), Lund university, published at 13th CIRP Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing (GCSM 2015) in Ho Chi Minh City & Binh Duong, Vietnam on 16th-18th of September 2015.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) enables the fabrication of components in a process, where slices of a virtual model are created and produced in a layer-upon-layer additive building process. AM thus differs radically from traditional manufacturing which is either subtractive, where material is removed from a block of material, or formative, in which material is formed by a mold (which, itself, is manufactured through a subtractive process). The technology has been adopted, since the mid-90s by most industries involved in product development, as it is often the best method for quickly manufacturing prototypes. Until recently these technologies were unable to produce components of the same strength and quality as conventionally manufactured components. However, some of the latest technologies have advanced to the point where it is now possible, for certain types of components, to produce fully functional production components, in a fraction of the time and material needed by conventional methods, particularly if one includes tooling/setup times. Rapid prototyping (RP) has thus evolved into rapid manufacturing (RM). AM production capabilities have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing, for example by, production of lighter, more complex and integrated parts, which require less raw material usage in their fabrication. Less raw material usage uses less of earth’s scarce resources, which is a key sustainable challenge relating to economic growth. One of the sustainable paths to continue on economic growth, via the lens of circular economy, is decoupling economic growth from the use of scarce resources through disruptive technologies (e.g. AM).
This paper analyses the adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies in Sweden. The dataset consists of a recent and representative sample of Swedish AM users (companies, universities, and research institutes). The authors investigate two questions. Firstly, what are the current applications of AM in Sweden (e.g. Rapid Prototyping (RP), production)? Secondly, what are the factors that can explain the variation in AM adoption among the users? Using a regression analysis technique, the main findings are as follows. (i) There is a variation among users’ choice of AM application, and the majority of users are expanding their AM applications beyond RP. (ii) There are two factors that positively affect the decision of firms to expand classical RP and also incorporate production and management. These two factors are using multiple AM technologies (as opposed to single Fused Deposition Modeling technology) and being small companies.
Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Application, Production Technology, Sweden.
Conference website: http://gcsm.eu/
For more information, please contact Babak Kianian (corresponding author): Tel: +46 (0) 455-385569; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org