Unsettled Topics on the Benefit of Additive Manufacturing for Production at the Point of Use in the Mobility Industry
An oft-cited benefit of additive manufacturing (AM), or “3D-printing,” technology is the ability to produce parts at the point of use by downloading a digital file and making the part at a local printer. This has the potential to greatly compress supply chains, lead times, inventories, and design iterations for custom parts. As a result of this, both manufacturing and logistics companies are investigating and investing in AM capacity for production at the point of use. However, it can be imagined that the feasibility and benefits are a function of size, materials, build time, manufacturing complexity, cost, and competing technologies. Because of this, there are instances where the viability of point-of-use manufacturing ranges from the perfect solution to the worst possible choice.