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Additive Manufacturing in a Supply Chain Solution Environment
Additive Manufacturing in a Supply Chain Solution Environment
Pper reviews various types of additive manufacturing and shows how some of the additive manufacturing is being used in a supply chain solution environment.
Supply Chain

Authored By:
Zohair Mehkri, David Geiger, Anwar Mohammed, Murad Kurwa
Flex
Milpitas, CA
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Summary
Additive Manufacturing has recently been brought into the spotlight as an alternative manufacturing method. While there are many different additive manufacturing technologies, the two that will focused on from the paper's perspective will be Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

Fused Filament Fabrication is the extrusion of a material through a heated nozzle onto a build platform. The material is layered until a 3 dimensional part is created. This technology allows for fast cooling times and a variety of materials and colors to be printed as well as flexibility for the creation of 3D objects. DMLS technology is used to print metal parts, where a bed of powered metal is sintered with a laser, then a roller levels another layer of powder over the sintered layer and the laser sinters it again, bonding the melted metal to the layer below it. This is continued until the part is finished.

The company is utilizing both of these technologies to help with the manufacturing and product development process for its customers as well as internal use. The company facility utilizes the FFF printers for quick turnaround of prototypes for customer products or processes as well as for internal jig and fixture use on the assembly lines. The DMLS technology is used for customers who desire to see their product prototype in metal for visual or functional purposes as well as internal use for tooling for equipment or projects. As the technologies are used the company is using the current uses as use cases for more areas that additive manufacturing can be implemented along the assembly process, as it is currently used in the earlier stages of development.

This paper will review some of the various types of additive manufacturing used and will show how some of the additive manufacturing is being used in a supply chain solution provider environment.
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