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Technoeconomic Analysis of Metal Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing

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Conference Abstract: Co-Authors: Shane Collins, Mohsen Seifi, Brent Stucker, David Paredes

The U.S. Air Force (AF) is challenged with determining how best to allocate resources needed to have the greatest impact on its mission in metal additive manufacturing (AM). The AF makes investments in new metal powder bed AM technologies and materials where processes could help improve the speed, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of manufacturing for aerospace and defense applications. However, the Air Force wants a better understanding of how to best allocate resources for the biggest impact on its mission.
The objective of this effort is to gather data by conducting expert interviews as well as collecting relevant knowledge across the industry, conduct analysis and synthesis intelligence for the AF. The Wohlers Associates Powered by ASTM international is performing the Techno-Economic Analysis which will guide the U.S Air Force in its investments in metal powder bed AM. Wohlers Associates will identify the needs and gaps as well as study the areas of high return on investment and dissemination of findings and information to the supply chain. The team will leverage the expertise of industry experts as well as those in the Air Force with backgrounds in metal AM. An important goal is to communicate a strong understanding of investment returns, with a techno-economic analysis as the foundation.
The project team would also like to include the wider AM community in its efforts via Interchange meetings and technical advisory groups as they become available at key industry events. Ultimately, the project team will provide the AF with adequate recommendations for where to invest in outcomes that make metal powder bed AM more efficient with the lowest $/cm3 of consolidated material that will boost adoption.