There is a rising trend in adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies. The research describes AgAMAM together with its attractive attributes and the methodology to be followed in its employment and validation process. AgAMAM is a better deal in the manufacturing process compared to the traditional methods. To obtain a good output, there is a need to consider features such as AgAMAM parts, design process, functionality of the system, staff knowledge, in-house facilities, tooling methods, variable criteria, quality of the parts, materials used in the creation of the parts, their strength and complexity, accuracy and optimization of the method, finish schedule, surface structure, support structure, un-powdering methods, and the post-treatment criteria. The success of any manufacturing process is determined by the inputs undertaken in the course of action.
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Current trends show a rise in the acceptance of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies (Geyer, 2013). This research presents some ways that can be used in determining the circumstance under which additive methods should be prioritized over the traditional ways of manufacturing. The methods can be tailored to fit all the requirements, which can help the manufacturers in reshaping or extending the process in real-time if possible. Some of the discussed steps in AgAMAM include Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Tooling, Rapid Manufacturing, and Rapid Replacing.
Rapid Prototyping refers to the production of small parts of the entire project or development, which reflects how the output will be. Rapid Manufacturing (RM) refers to the fabrication of the products in Rapid Manufacturing to ensure that the production process proceeds as per the approved specifications (Wohlers Associates, 2012). In areas such as aerospace, production of the lightweight finished parts by use of the AM technologies brings out a very high competition in the market. Rapid Tooling is the rapid process done on the finished product to ensure it meets the standards and be of the right quality (Zandi, & Tavana, 2011). Rapid replacing is the production of the approved and tested design in large quantities to meet the demand of the users.
2.0. Agile Additive Manufacturing Assessment Method (AgAMAM)
Agile additive Manufacturing Method (AgAMAM) refers to the processes in which various materials and objects are produced from the digital models which are already designed in a layer by layer procedure. With a push of a button, the final parts of the products are formed in the build chamber (BuyuKozkan, Derell, & Baykasoglu, 2014). While such a statement is generally true especially in the media, creation of metal parts requires practical experience and planning; thus, the need to have AgAMAM.
The tools, materials, models, and speed of laying the materials and creation of the various products are digitally controlled. The traditional models of manufacturing measured the manufacturing success through the use of time and the costs of inputs. The old forms of manufacturing viewed the manufacturing process holistically. AgAMAM has been dubbed superior to the traditional methods of manufacturing due to its objectivity in manufacturing assessment.
2.1. The Components of AgAMAM
One of the major components of AgAMAM is the digital model, which is the blueprint that the manufacturing processes follows in a very short period. The traditional models used to be simple, and they created both simple and complex objects. Digital models are very critical in the evaluation process and presentation of the item for verification after prediction (BuyuKozkan, Derell, & Baykasoglu, 2014). Digital models help in qualifying the AgAMAM as a manufacturing process. In essence, it is the digital process that differentiates the AgAMAM from the old traditional models. Otherwise, the other parts are generally of the same structure.
Materials are important components of any manufacturing process, and failure to have it makes it hard to manufacture some objects. Apart from the digital component of the AgAMAM, the material is commonly applied. Some of the materials are too small and through continuous additions, they make a large and complex element. Since the products that come from the manufacturing process usually need to be of high standards, the consolidation of the materials must be in a way that the standards are easily achieved. Materials can also be integrated to form designs useful in various circumstances. Some of the common materials used in the AgAMAM model are in the form of liquid and water droplets that usually makes manufacturing procedure a simple one. The materials usually become inputs in the next manufacturing chain and thus the need to have them in the right standard.
The other major component in digital manufacturing is the tools (Zandi, & Tavana, 2011). These are the components used in laying materials in the AgAMAM process. In the evaluation procedure, tools are important in ensuring there is proper integration of various parts of the materials. Success cannot be achieved without proper tools. Most of the tools used are integrative, and they work together to ensure multiple parts of different components are assimilated in the right manner.
Lastly, another important component in manufacturing is the digital control process. A digital layering control must be put in place to ensure the layering process proceeds in a controlled and predesigned manner. Layering of materials works well when in control of the digital system. The shapes are developed according to the digital models, through which very distinct shapes can be produced.
3.0. AgAMAM Operation Steps
AgAMAM differs in the operational process from the traditional approach due to its major focus in the analysis of the design parts of all phases it follows (BuyuKozkan, Derell, & Baykasoglu, 2014). The other major operational difference with the traditional types is in its individualistic assessments of the design parts. It is a better form of assessment that provides a clear decision in the metal additive manufacturing processes. The method has four steps that can be taken in the form of phases. Nevertheless, the method is more expensive than traditional methods. It is through the analysis of these steps that the costs can be determined, and they include prototyping, manufacturing processes, tooling process, and reproduction phase. Through the analysis of these steps, it is easy to get the unit cost for every phase.
The first phase, which is prototyping, entails prediction of the intermediate designs that usually look like the expected output. The prototypes are designed in a way to show the areas to be corrected or added upon the completion of the product manufacturing. Prototypes ensure that the product produced is in line with the specifications that the design team and other stakeholders had agreed upon. From a simple idea to a final product, prototyping helps the company to improve accuracy and the precision with which the expected product is produced. Prototyping also ensures that the produced product is as expected; thus, protecting the company from financial losses.
The next process is the manufacturing process, which assembles the materials to form a tangible idea, which is also the product. It forms objects according to the digital control systems and models. It consolidates the available resources to make one useful part. It takes over all the available resources and ensures that the process is integrated into the AgAMAM. It is in this phase that the uniqueness of the AgAMAM can be easily seen and various cost factors be analyzed. The cost of producing a product is the sum of the prototyping, tooling, manufacturing, and reproduction.
Prototyping Build cost = Sum of total prototyping Parameter Costs…………………………1st Equation
Total Manufacturing cost=Sum of the total manufacturing parameter costs……………………….2nd Equation
Total Build Cost for tooling = Sum of the total tooling parameter costs…………………………………3rd Equation
Total Reproduction Costs=Sum of the total parameter costs………………………………………………… 4th Equation
Resultant Equation Five Refers to total Agile Additive Manufacturing Costs.
Total build Cost= (∑Reproduction Total cost of parameters)] + [(∑Prototyping Total Cost of parameters) + (∑Manufacturing Total cost of parameters) + (∑Tooling Total cost of parameters costs)
Most of the details will be factored in the cost calculations in the AgAMAM costs of manufacturing as compared to the traditional methods (Zandi, & Tavana, 2011). This issue makes AgAMAM processes more costly than the other methods. The method used is however more important in the AgAMAM due to the quality that comes with it. It provides a better way to alter errors in the unit stages and bring up an error-free finished product. While the AgAMAM costs may be higher than the other costs, it is imperative to observe the engineering processes quality more than the other costs.
4.0. Success Factors in AgAMAM
The success factors in AgAMAM include making, metrology, market and materials. Making process is the method of making materials through the use of layer-by-layer stacking process. Materials refer to objects used in the production process. The market defines what is needed by the customers and the satisfaction to be achieved. Metrology emphasizes on the need for high-quality productions in manufacturing engineering. It also demands high precision and accuracy in making various shapes and designs.
The cost driver result indicates that the costs in additive and subtractive methods are usually divided into machine cost, material cost, and labor cost. The cost factors are further divided based on the underlying determinants due to the fundamental differences between subtractive and additive methods. The costs per volume for the AgAMAM products are significantly higher than the costs for the sAgAMAMe material in the conventional manufacturing methods. The stringent requirements such as smooth surfaces need the use of expensive powder materials (Zandi, & Tavana, 2011). However, this does not mean that AgAMAM materials and products are generally expensive. The produced parts will be less expensive due to the technology-induced in the process of making a large number of products. Machine time in the subtractive method is usually determined by the complexities of the parts, while the total volume is determined by the bounding box. The gradual addition of the materials in the AgAMAM method shows that material consumption and the machine time is proportional. It is also free to make the geometrical comparisons in the AgAMAM methods. The direct labor costs for the AGAMAM methods are higher due to the refinements done after the production of the products. It is imperative to reduce support to minimize direct print costs. The AgAMAM machine time costs depend on the filling up of the volumes in each run (Gibson et al., 2014).
5.0. Ring Shaped Design Case
Any process of manufacturing assessment using the agile additive Manufacturing Method (AgAMAM) process begins with the shape design and prototyping (Puik, Telgen, Moergestel, & Ceglarek, 2017). A shape such as the one shown below must first be designed and placed in a 3D model in a computer that can provide a blueprint for computer-guided manufacturing. The ring shape below is obtained from the CAD or any simulation software and can provide a way of assessing the product costs, time, accuracy, and quality even at the design step. The mistakes in the aspects such as radius, various turns, and size can be determined at this stage using the AgAMAM before it gets to the next step of the building process. Currently, the use of Contactless Digital Light Processing (CDLP) can enable faster production of prototypes and tests of the space with the simulation before printing it. Accuracy deviations that may result in the cooling and heating phases of the manufacturing process in the next phase will be reduced through proper assessment of the production environment using rapid prototyping.
After the creation of the CAD model of the ring, it is converted into a format that makes an approximation of the surfaces by multiple facets and in this case, various angles, polygons, and turns after a fixed length of material.
In the next phase of production of the ring, as shown above, there is need to develop the rapid tooling technique, molds, and patterns that can make the production of the various parts of the ring. There can be different molds and the shaping material which produces some various parts that can later be joined into one. An assessment needed in this phase is the 2D aspect such as the length and width of the material and the shapes of the tools used to manufacture such materials. The rapid manufacturing process is used to produce small parts of the ring one after the other. Subsequent production or repetitive production need fixing of the production tools, prototypes, and manufacturing environment to ensure a large number of productions within a short period. Many rings can be produced following the conditions from which the other materials were produced.
6.0. Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of the AgAMAM
The factors influencing the additive manufacturing process from the idea to the final part are captured in the fundamental diagram shown below.
Base Rules in Decision making in AgAMAM
All the personnel working in the AgAMAM processes must have the mentality of the additive methods as opposed to subtractive thinking (Puik, Telgen, Moergestel, & Ceglarek, 2017). Experts in AM are required to undergo necessary training in the field to understand some of the functions of the method. AM is not a method that can guarantee simplicity as it is not a plug-and-play method, but it requires necessary systematic steps to complete. An expert must choose the AgAMAM system that fits one’s specific needs because every development phase is unique. All phase process experts must consult each other before making the final designs in manufacturing. Lastly, it is important to develop the AgAMAM
business clusters, which provide a platform for sharing the good ideas thus improving the rate of innovations.
The research investigates the method that can be used in the development of parts of AgAMAM through the use of the AM, unlike the previous methods which used the traditional technologies to attain the same results. The research proved that AgAMAM is the most important and suitable method for design, assessment, and development of parts compared to the traditional processes. The process of obtaining a good part needs the consideration of features such as AgAMAM parts, design process, likelihood of the system machinability, staff knowledge, in-house facilities, tooling methods, variable criteria, quality of the parts, materials used in the creation of the parts, their strength and complexity, accuracy and optimization of the method, finish schedule, surface structure, support structure, un-powdering methods, and the post-treatment criteria.
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Puck, E., Telgen, D., van Moergestel, L., & Ceglarek, D. (2017). Assessment of reconfiguration schemes for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems based on resources and lead time. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 43, 30-38.