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A manufacturing cost analysis framework to evaluate machining and fused filament fabrication additive manufacturing approaches


The goal of this research is to develop a costing framework and explore opportunities for fabricating components using additive manufacturing (AM) and machining approaches. The examples target plastic machining, and the fused deposition modeling AM process, but the general model structure is applicable for other AM processes as process knowledge is developed. The question “when is machining more cost-effective than AM” has not been comprehensively addressed. The purpose of this work is to develop a costing framework to provide insight on whether to use machining or AM. An estimation model which considers the process planning, setup, and fabrication time-cost elements is developed in a structured manner. This is challenging due to the machining process planning complexity, the decision-making, and the skill set required, especially for complex surface finish machining. This framework can be readily adapted to suit specific environments. The estimation time models are linked to a cost model, and comparisons are drawn, based on the form complexity and manufacturing quantity. An effective combination of AM and machining technologies could bring about a new hybrid manufacturing approach that meets the requirements of the next generation of production systems, especially for short-run production. A cost-benefit analysis is performed to illustrate solution approaches for designing additive, subtractive, or hybrid operation sets for a variety of components to highlight the merits of the presented approach. Exploring a larger solution space of processing options and their processing time and costs will allow designers to generate more cost-competitive solutions.

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This research is partially funded by the NSERC Discovery Grant research program.

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Correspondence to R. J. Urbanic.

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Urbanic, R.J., Saqib, S.M. A manufacturing cost analysis framework to evaluate machining and fused filament fabrication additive manufacturing approaches. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 102, 3091–3108 (2019).

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  • Fused deposition modeling
  • Machining
  • Costing model framework
  • Hybrid process planning