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Improving the product development process with additive manufacturing
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (IPR)
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (IPR)
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The following report consists of a master thesis (30 credits) within product development. The thesis is written by Philip Ragnartz and Axel Staffanson, both studying mechanical engineering at Mälardalens University.

Developing new components for a production line is costly and time consuming as they must be made from manual measurements and must go through all the conventional manufacturing (CM) steps. Eventual design mistakes will be discovered after the component have been manufactured and tested. To fix the design a completely new component must be designed and therefore double the overall lead time. The purpose of this thesis is to establish how additive manufacturing (AM) can best be used to minimize the cost and lead time in the development of new components.

The study was performed by looking at the current product development process in the automotive industry at a large company, here by referred to as company A. 56 components already manufactured at company A´s own tools department was examined and compared to different AM methods. The aim of this was to get a larger pool of data to get an average on production time and cost and see how this differ to the different AM methods. Additionally, two work holders were more closely examined in a case study. Work holder one is a component in the production line that occasionally must be remanufactured. It was examined if this problem could be solved with a desktop plastic printer to hold up for a production batch. Work holder two was the development of a new component, this was to examine the use of printing the component in an early stage impact the development process.

The findings from this study is that AM can today not be used in a cost efficient way in manufacturing or development of simple components. This is due to the cost of a metal 3D-printer is still very high, and the building material even higher. This results in components that gets very expensive to make compared to producing them with CM. For design evaluation to be cost efficient there will have to be a design fault in over 12 % of the newly design components for it to be cost effective to print the design for validation before sending it to be manufactured.

There are however a lot bigger potential savings in the lead time. Producing the end product with a metal 3D-printer can cut down the lead time up to 85 %. This is thanks to the fact that the printer will produce the component all in one step and therefore not get stuck in between different manufacturing processes. The same goes for design evaluation with printing the component in plastic to confirm the design and not risk having to wait for the component to be manufactured twice.

Despite the facts that it is not cost efficient to use AM there are other factors that play an important role. To know that the designed components will work will create a certainty and allow the development process to continue. In some cases it will also allow the designer to improve the design to function better even if the first design would have worked. As AM is expanding machines and build materials will become cheaper. Eventually it will become cheaper to 3D-print even simple components compared to CM. When this occurs, a company cannot simply buy a 3D-printer and make it profitable. There is a learning curve with AM that will take time for the designers to adapt to. Therefore, it is good to start implementing it as soon as possible as it allows for more intricate designs and require experience to do so.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 62
Keywords [en]
Mechanical engineering, Product development, Process development, Implementation plan, Additive manufacturing, AM, 3D-printing, 3D-printing technology, Design for additive manufacturing, DFAM, Optimal technology selection, Cost-efficiency, Economical compensation
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40344OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-40344DiVA, id: diva2:1238078
Subject / course
Mechanical Engineering
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-08-15 Created: 2018-08-12 Last updated: 2018-08-15Bibliographically approved

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Improving the product development process with additive manufacturing(4870 kB)243 downloads
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