Cost Impact of the Risk of Build Failure in Laser Sintering

Baumers, M.
Holweg, M.
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University of Texas at Austin

While the feasibility of adopting Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been demonstrated in a range of industrial sectors, the total costs associated with the operation of the technology are not fully understood. This study reports the results of a series of build experiments in a controlled environment for the analysis of the total cost of the AM technology variant Laser Sintering (LS). Incorporating a structured representation of the process flow of LS, the developed cost model shows for a LS system of the type EOSINT P100 that the expected cost impact of build failure has a substantial effect, responsible for a share of up to 38% of total costs. The analysis further demonstrates that, due to the adverse effects of such ill-structured costs, the cost efficient level of build volume utilization is sub-maximal. This result is discussed in the context of the operational reality of using LS technology and the availability of economies of scale.