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The present theme analyses the impact of new technologies in aeronautics supply chain, with particular emphasis on metal additive manufacturing – an emerging technology/manufacturing process that can bring potential disruptive changes in the aeronautics industry as will as providing potential benefits to other leading Portuguese manufacturers such as those making molds for the automobile and other industries.

Laurejis, R.E., Bonnín Roca, J., Prabhna Narra, S., Montgomery, C., Beuth, J.L., Fuchs, (2016)

Title: Metal Additive Manufacturing: Cost Competitive Beyond Low Volumes

Abstract: Additive manufacturing is increasingly of interest for commercial and military applications due to its potential to create novel geometries with increased performance. For additive manufacturing to find commercial application, it must be cost competitive against traditional processes such as forging. Forecasting the production costs of future products prior to large-scale investment is challenging due to the limits of traditional cost accounting’s ability to handle both the systemic process implications of new technologies and cognitive biases in humans’ additive and systemic estimates. Leveraging a method uniquely suited to these challenges, we quantify the production and use economics of an additively-manufactured versus a traditionally forged GE engine bracket of equivalent performance for commercial aviation. Our results show that, despite the simplicity of the engine bracket, when taking into account part redesign for AM and the associated lifetime fuel savings of the additively-designed bracket, the additively manufactured part and design is cheaper than the forged one for a wide range of scenarios, including at higher volumes of 2,000 to 12,000 brackets per year. Opportunities to further reduce costs include accessing lower material prices without compromising quality, producing vertical builds with equivalent performance to horizontal builds, and increasing process control so as to enable reduced testing. Given the conservative nature of our assumptions as well as our choice of part, these results suggest there may be broader economic viability for additively manufactured parts, especially when systemic factors and use costs are incorporated.

Keywords: additive manufacturing, process based cost modeling, metal alloys, aerospace, forging


Bonnín Roca, J., Vaishnav, P., Fuchs, E., & Morgan, M. G. (2016)

Title: Policy Needed for Additive Manufacturing. 

Abstract: The successful adoption of metallic additive manufacturing in aviation will require investment in basic scientific understanding of the process, defining of standards and adaptive regulation.

Bonnín Roca, J., Vaishnav, P., Mendonça, J., & Morgan, M. G. (2017)

Title: Getting Past the Hype About 3-D Printing

Abstract: The hope for additive manufacturing is that it will revolutionize manufacturing. Although additive manufacturing — also known as 3-D printing — was developed back in the 1980s, it has garnered increased attention in recent years as managers look for ways to improve efficiency and reduce production costs. Managers hope that much the way GE’s new printed nozzle for jet engines has reduced the need for expensive materials and energy, 3-D-printed parts will cut lead times and make supply chains more efficient in a wide range of settings.

Despite the potential of additive manufacturing, we believe that near-term expectations for it are overblown. We base this conclusion on our research, which included 80 interviews as well as extensive study of the literature on the history of materials and process technologies, industry meetings, and factory visits.

Keywords: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, Innovation Process, Technology Innovation


Bonnín Roca, J., and Reis, A. (2016)

Title: Manufactura Aditiva de Metal: Desafios e Oportunidades para a Indústria Metalomecânica Portuguesa 


Soares, B.A.R., Freitas M., Henriques, E. (2017a)

Title: Cost implication of automation in the production of composite parts: A process based cost model approach (2nd European Composites Day, 2017).

Soares, B.A.R., Freitas M., Henriques, E. (2017b)

Title: How Process based cost models inform new composite manufacturing technologies (CARBURES seminar, 2017).

Pinto, J. (2017)

Title: Cost comparison of manufacturing technologies in the aerospace industries, a case study (Master Thesis) 



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