Development of a selection program for additive manufacturing systems

Husam, Shames (2010-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Industrial Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Additive Manufacturing (AM) refers to the technologies that use Computer Aided Design (CAD) data to produce plastic, metal, ceramic, paper, wax or composite materials parts. Their ability to join thin layers of liquid, powder or sheet materials together permits the production of parts, which are difficult or even impossible to produce, using any other manufacturing method. Even though these technologies are still developing, they are considered a major breakthrough in industry. One of the main problems that is facing the improvement and the spread of AM technologies, and its benefits worldwide, is the lack of knowledge about them. Still a lot of countries, educational and industrial organizations do not even know about AM technologies. This lack of knowledge of such technologies is keeping their cost artificially high, which is limiting the access to more AM advanced technologies and materials. It also makes it difficult to market the technologies and those who do not use AM technologies yet become unable to compete against those who do. The numbers of AM systems are continually growing, their capabilities and applications are improving and their cost is decreasing. Today there are more than 40 companies that produce over 100 different systems in Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and the United States. These systems vary in their strengths, defects, applications, functions and limitations. This growth has led to an increase in current and potential users of AM from both the manufacturing and educational sectors. These users are however facing increasing complex problems when it comes to selecting the most appropriate commercial system(s) to suit their needs. The aim of this study is to develop an AM system selection program. The program will serve both as an educational tool and a decision making support tool to assist any potential purchasers in both the educational and industrial sectors. The AM system selection program is divided into two sections: the learning section and the selecting section. The learning section introduces the AM technologies by imparting knowledge to the new users; moreover, it inspires them to start using these technologies to get their benefits. Having a background in AM technologies enables the new users to make educated decisions and to discuss technical issues about the systems with the providers. The selecting section offers a decision making support tool to help the users to decide which system best suits their needs. This study can contribute to the promotion of AM technologies and their benefits worldwide, especially for the countries and organizations that have not yet used such technologies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Toevoegende vervaardiging verwys na al die tegnologie wat rekenaargesteunde ontwerp data gebruik om plastiek, metaal, keramiek, papier, saamgestelde materiale en waks parte te vervaardig. Die vermoë van die tegnologie om dun lae vloeistof, poeier of plaatmateriaal op mekaar te verbind laat die vervaardiging van parte wat moeilik of selfs onmoontlik is, deur die gebruik van ander vervaardigingsmetodes. Alhoewel hierdie tegnologieë nog in ‘n ontwikkelingsfase is, word dit as ‘n reuse deurbraak vir die bedryf beskou. Die verbetering, verspreiding en voordele van die tegnologie word hoofsaaklik belemmer deur ‘n tekort aan inligting daaroor. Baie lande, akademiese en industrieële organisasies is nog nie eens bewus dat sulke tegnologieë bestaan nie. Die tekort aan inligting veroorsaak dat kostes hoog bly en verhoed die vinnige uitbreiding van nog meer gevorderde tegnologieë en materiale. Verder bemoeilik dit ook die bemarking van die tegnologieë. Die aantal toevoegende vervaardigingsmasjiene groei jaarliks met beter vermoëns, laer kostes en ‘n groter verskeidenheid van toepassings. Tans is daar meer as 40 vervaardigers wat meer as 100 verskillende masjiene vervaardig in Kanada, China, Frankryk, Duitsland, Israel, Italië, Japan, Suid-Korea, Swede en Amerika. Al die masjiene verskil ten opsigte van hul funksies, beperkings en ook ten opsigte van sterkte, materiale en toepassings van parte. Die groei het gelei tot ‘n toename in gebruik van die tegnologie deur huidige en potensiële nuwe gebruikers van beide die vervaardigings en akademiese sektore. Die keuse van ‘n geskikte sisteem wat aan al ‘n gebruiker se vereistes voldoen, raak elke dag meer kompleks. Die doel van hierdie studie is die ontwikkeling van ‘n seleksie program vir toevoegende vervaardigingmasjiene. Die program sal dien as ‘n opleidingshulpmiddel en as ‘n basis vir masjienseleksie deur potensiële kopers. Die program bestaan uit twee dele: die opleidingsgedeelte en die selekteringsgedeelte. Die opleidingsgedeelte beskryf die verskeie toevoegende prosesse en motiveer gebruikers om die tegnologie aan te skaf weens die voordele. ‘n Agtergrond oor die verskeie tegnologieë stel die gebruiker in staat om ingeligte besluite te neem en tegniese vrae te kan stel aan verskaffers. Die selekteringsdeel het ‘n besluitnemingstruktuur wat help om die regte masjien te kies ten opsigte van verlangde vereistes. Hierdie studie kan help met die bevordering van toevoegende tegnologieë en hul voordele, veral vir lande en organisasies wat nog nooit voorheen sulke tegnologieë gebruik het nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4336
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