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From rapid prototyping to direct manufacturing : State-of-the-art and impacts on operational performance: The case of the automotive industry
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Additive manufacturing is an industrial process, developed in the early 1980s and currently used in several industries such as the medical, aircraft and automotive industries. In the first place,additive manufacturing was mostly usedby manufacturing industries to produce prototypes, models and patterns. Nowadays, this technology can be used at any point in the lifecycle of a product from pre-production(rapid prototyping and rapid tooling) to production (direct manufacturing). This technology is especially adapted for the production of limited series of small and geometrically complex components.The purpose of this study is to identify howadditive manufacturing affects operational performance during the development and production phases, specifically in the case of the automotive industry.With this purpose in mind, I have collected primary and secondary data through a qualitative study using both in-depth semi-structured interviewsand archival records found on automotive companies’ websites. The objective of collecting multiple sources datawas to gain a reliable and comprehensive perception of the situation and understand the effects of additive manufacturing on operational performance, and more precisely on the seven production wastesdefined on lean practices, to be able to answer my research question. The data are analyzed using an inductive thematic analysis approach and testthe presupposition that emerged from the empirical findings. Through the analysis of the data collected, I came to the conclusion that additive manufacturing is mostly used during the prototyping phase and sometimes also used for rapid tooling. But it appears that this technology is only used for direct manufacturing in some specific niche markets such as luxury carmakers. Another interesting finding concerns the use of additive manufacturing for marketing purpose. Concerning operational performance, the impacts of additivemanufacturing remainlimited, and contrary to what some authors said, the use of this technology is still marginal in the automotive industry compared to traditional manufacturing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 73 p.
Keyword [en]
Additive manufacturing, rapid manufacturing, operational performance, lean manufacturing, lean practices, seven production wastes, automotive industry, rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, direct manufacturing
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118052OAI: diva2:911034
Educational program
Master's program in Business Development and Internationalisation
Available from: 2016-03-21 Created: 2016-03-10 Last updated: 2016-03-21Bibliographically approved

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