Unsettled Topics on the Feasibility and Desirability of Using
Additive Manufacturing in the Mobility Industry EPR2020009
Depending on the industry and application, views on additive manufacturing (AM),
or “3D printing,” range from something that will transform an industry to it
being another overhyped technology that will only find niche applications. Most
views fall somewhere in between, with the most common one being that it depends
on the application and technology. Because of the ability to directly produce
parts from a digital file, views often include dependence on when and where the
part is needed. This introduces the crux of the matter, which is how to
determine when the use of AM is feasible and desirable, which is made all the
more complicated by the fact that not only is AM technology in general changing
quickly, but also the merits of the each AM technology relative to the others
are also changing. Finally, non-AM technologies are continually improving and
are increasingly adding AM-like capability.
As the opening report of a six-part series of SAE EDGE™ Research Reports on AM,
this paper discusses unsettled issues pertaining to the benefits, drawbacks, and
trade-offs, as well as the decision-making processes to be followed in
determining the feasibility and desirability of using AM.
NOTE: SAE EDGE™ Research Reports are intended to identify and illuminate key
issues in emerging, but still unsettled, technologies of interest to the
mobility industry. The goal of SAE EDGE™ Research Reports is to stimulate
discussion and work in the hope of promoting and speeding resolution of
identified issues. SAE EDGE™ Research Reports are not intended to resolve the
challenges they identify or close any topic to further scrutiny.