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Pursuing successful rapid manufacturing: A user' best-practices approach
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Dr Javier Munguia Valenzuela
Munguía FJ, Ciurana J, Riba C
Rapid Prototyping Journal
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– This paper seeks to present the results of a study carried out within rapid manufacturing (RM) service providers and engineering centres in Northern Spain. By disclosing strategies for their everyday operation, it is intended to show how the internal expertise acquired overtime copes with the lack of standards within this industry.
– The study was deployed by means of a survey including four main issues: RM concepts, process planning, materials and costs. Questions range from general RM perceptions to specific production criteria like: layer thicknesses, laser power, quality assurance methods, etc. A special emphasis is made on cost parameters, since they play a major role when selecting the final manufacturing route.
– The so-called “de facto standards” were found to be widely used in order to minimize production risks for RM. The study also suggests the need for specific RM standards based on key issues like material recycling, process planning and costs assignment.
– The study is mainly focused on additive RM processes used in Spanish centres. Although, some other technologies applied elsewhere might not be considered, it is assumed that most of the technologies mentioned in this study are available worldwide, thus providing valuable information to increase the general RM base of knowledge.
– Unlike most of the RM literature based on benchmarking of processes to provide information, this paper shows first hand data from users and service providers, showing RM practices and preferences from a different approach.
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