Unavailable raw materials and product intermediates are upsetting the established industrial manufacturing base with lack of timely castings, forgings, and billet. Supply chain issues can be mitigated through adoption of AM substitutes such as preforms, near-net shape and finish machined products.
Benefits of AM are slowly being realized in many industries. Examples in trade literature cite 80% schedule savings, 50% cost savings and designs that integrate multiple pieces into single components amplifying cost, schedule, maintenance, and performance improvements. These advantages serve directly to solve supply issues. However, a common frustration in entrepreneurial community of AM providers is the slow progression of adoption of new products given the remarkable potential advantages.
The Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) is an excellent tool for guiding maturation of AM products toward implementation, acceptance, and production. AM has some successful product implementations; however, because of the various standards, qualifications and requirements, the path can be confusing.
Significant investments are being made elevating the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of AM capabilities but without connecting TRL to MRL within the context of product acceptance criteria these investments will not realize a financial return. Understanding how MRL can be used to frame the priority and progression of AM implementation obligations can elevate the importance of critical manufacturing maturity milestones essential to delivery and deployment. Seeing where materials and process qualifications, materials databases, quality standards, process standards and audited approvals fit in the context of MRL provides motivation to organize these activities earlier in the development value chain and provide early investment.
A roadmap will be presented to outline how all these important metrics for product acceptance can be organized into a coherent process to achieve successful production capability. Case studies from the AM industry, some of them well known, will be used to illustrate different paths through roadmap.
- Describe the roadmap for product acceptance that includes materials and process qualifications, materials databases, quality standards, process standards and audited approvals
- Describe three case studies that illustrate different paths through the
- Define the investments and priorities required to achieve customer adoption of an AM product