PurposeA prerequisite for the successful adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies in industry is the identification of areas, where such technologies could offer a clear competitive advantage. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the unique value-adding characteristics of AM, define areas of viable application in a firm value chain and discuss common implications of AM adoption for companies and their processes.Design/methodology/approachThe research leverages a multi-case-study approach and considers interviews with AM adopting companies from the Swiss and central European region in the medical and industrial manufacturing industries. The authors rely on a value chain model comprising a new product development process and an order fulfillment process (OFP) to analyze the benefits of AM technologies.FindingsThe research identifies and defines seven clusters within a firm value chain, where the application of AM could create benefits for the adopting company and its customers. The authors suggest that understanding the AM process chain and the design experience are key to explaining the heterogeneous industrial maturity of the presented clusters. The authors further examine the suitability of AM technologies with agile development techniques to pursue incremental product launches in hardware. It is clearly a field requiring the attention of scholars.Originality/valueThis paper presents a value-driven approach for use-case identification and reveals implications of the industrial implementation of AM technologies. The resultant clustering model provides guidance to new AM adopters.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 28, 2019
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