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Additive manufacturing: A framework for implementation


  • Mellor, Stephen
  • Hao, Liang
  • Zhang, David


As mass production has migrated to developing countries, European and US companies are forced to rapidly switch towards low volume production of more innovative, customised and sustainable products with high added value. To compete in this turbulent environment, manufacturers have sought new fabrication techniques to provide the necessary tools to support the need for increased flexibility and enable economic low volume production. One such emerging technique is Additive Manufacturing (AM). AM is a method of manufacture which involves the joining of materials, usually layer-upon-layer, to create objects from 3D model data. The benefits of this methodology include new design freedom, removal of tooling requirements, and economic low volumes. AM consists of various technologies to process versatile materials, and for many years its dominant application has been the manufacture of prototypes, or Rapid Prototyping. However, the recent growth in applications for direct part manufacture, or Rapid Manufacturing, has resulted in much research effort focusing on development of new processes and materials. This study focuses on the implementation process of AM and is motivated by the lack of socio-technical studies in this area. It addresses the need for existing and potential future AM project managers to have an implementation framework to guide their efforts in adopting this new and potentially disruptive technology class to produce high value products and generate new business opportunities. Based on a review of prior works and through qualitative case study analysis, we construct and test a normative structural model of implementation factors related to AM technology, supply chain, organisation, operations and strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Mellor, Stephen & Hao, Liang & Zhang, David, 2014. "Additive manufacturing: A framework for implementation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 194-201.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:149:y:2014:i:c:p:194-201
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2013.07.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

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