6 Factors That Determine Success and Failure in Additive Manufacturing

6 Factors That Determine Success and Failure in Additive Manufacturing

Bright AM

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Additive Manufacturing is on the rise across many industries, providing flexibility in design and equipment and fast exchange between products. The downfall in new technology is often the lack of standardization or known factors. For success and failure Additive Manufacturing, six factors are proving to be major players to adopt or overcome for successful streamlined manufacturing.

1. Resources

Skilled labor to work on the manufacturing line or material availability, lack of resources, or organization of any resources can all drastically impact success or failure. Bright AM workflow automation software helps address resources by tracking available materials and workforce, notifying you when resources are low, and managing supplier information for quick re-supply. With resource management, you can get closer to just-in-time material delivery, decreasing warehouse space for each product. This can help by either having smaller warehouses or housing materials and parts for more product lines, leading to higher availability of customization.

2. Automation vs Customization

Once you know what works, it’s easier to automate the process, though it does become harder to customize the product. One of the greatest benefits of Additive Manufacturing is the ability to customize, but the automation aspect tends to suffer.

The success and failure of Additive Manufacturing rely on the ability to balance the need for customization with the efficiency of automation. Workflow automation software can help by prioritizing similar products in back-to-back manufacturing to limit the number of customization changes between products and improve the streamline.

3. Production Volume and Repeatability

One success of Additive Manufacturing is its ability to repeat a process in high quality every time. As this method continues to improve, we’ll see an increase in production volume, not only through timely execution but also through less rework, less scrap, and higher quality. Quality objectives are accomplished through close monitoring at each phase of production and workflow. Increasing volume in any industry is achieved by adding more concurrent workflows (more people or machines) or increasing the speed of production.

Most manufacturing facilities are expensive to add concurrent workflow, so increasing speed might be the better option. Imagine increasing production speed, but suddenly losing accuracy and precision and not finding out until the end of production. Increasing speed in a controlled manner, monitoring results throughout the workflow minimizes the window of trial and error to fine-tune the precision and accuracy for a high-quality product. There is a sweet spot that draws a line between success and failure Additive Manufacturing, and Bright AM can help you find it with close monitoring of your processes.

4. Standardization

Starting with a high-quality standardized raw material or base product is critical to upholding standardization across any industry. It goes far beyond a high-quality starting point. To truly navigate success and failure Additive Manufacturing, you need to standardize and provide consistent quality each time.

Standardization should look at every step through production, monitoring each step. Doing so against material and design standards will identify errors before more work or materials are wasted, as well as avoiding rework and scrapping costly materials. Quality is not only the end product—it is every step and every material and even the process, including thermal history, which may impact the integrity of the product.

5. Disconnected Workflow

When two phases of production don’t communicate, it can lead to failure across many aspects, minimizing efficiency and potentially causing increased waste from undiscovered flaws or scrapped products not completed in a required timeframe.

Monitoring workflows and reconnecting the disconnect is critical in success and failure Additive Manufacturing. Bright AM tracks raw and processed materials, parts and pieces, and production teams and integrates with existing software for real-time data of traceability.

6. Lean Planning

Lastly, planning manufacturing as lean as possible is key. This is where all the other factors are tied together in harmonious synchronization to provide the end product with less waste, less rework, better materials, efficient labor, and a balance of automation and customization to meet client needs and quality standards.

Lean planning can help bring a product from design to production with more efficiency and less waste, through small iterations of a product mock-up until a client is fully satisfied. Lean planning supports the increased productivity of a reliable product, focusing on a build-measure-learn loop of improvement.

Additive Manufacturing is paving the way in the manufacturing industry. It has established a respected stature in the industry, but that reputation is at risk if the major factors of success and failure within the Additive Manufacturing industry are not navigated carefully. Bright AM has the technology to support the factors for success.

If your service includes Additive Manufacturing, we provide specific solutions in our Bright AM software. To request an Additive Manufacturing software demo, click here!