Breaking the mould:Achieving high volume production output with additive manufacturing

Huang, Yuan and Eyers, Daniel and Stevenson, Mark and Thurer, Matthias (2021) Breaking the mould:Achieving high volume production output with additive manufacturing. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 41 (12). pp. 1844-1851. ISSN 0144-3577

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Purpose The study aims to examine a discrepant industrial case that demonstrates how to achieve economies of scale with additive manufacturing (AM), thereby expanding the scope of AM beyond high-variety, customised production contexts. Design/methodology/approach Abductive reasoning is applied to analyse a case of using AM to compete with conventional production, winning a contract to supply 7,700,000 products. Comparing this case to existing theories and contemporary practices reveals new research directions and practical insights. Findings Economies of scale were realised through a combination of technological innovation and the adoption of operations management practices atypical of AM shops (e.g. design for volume, low-cost resource deployment and material flow optimisation). The former improved AM process parameters in terms of time, cost and dependability; the latter improved the entire manufacturing system, including non-AM operations/resources. This system-wide improvement has been largely overlooked in the literature, where AM is typically viewed as a disruptive technology that simplifies manufacturing processes and shortens supply chains. Originality/value It is empirically shown that an AM shop can achieve economies of scale and compete with conventional manufacturing in high-volume, standardised production contexts.

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Journal Article
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International Journal of Operations and Production Management
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This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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05 Oct 2021 09:55
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 03:10