Tag Archives: Martin Baumers

3D Printing Production Planning Report

The final project report from the feasibility study led by Dr Martin Baumers at the University of Nottingham is now online. “3D Printing Production Planning: Reactive manufacturing execution driving redistributed manufacturing” describes results of the work undertaken at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with HP Enterprise and Knight Graphics. The results of this project will be presented at the 3DP-RDM event 3D Printing Where and How on 31st January 2017 at the IfM in Cambridge.

Executive summary

Martin Baumers, Ender Özcan and Jason Atkin

3D Printing (3DP) technology, also known as Additive Manufacturing, is associated with significant potential for supply chain innovation by enabling manufacturing configurations delivering additional value through differentiated products, for example in terms of production location. It has been suggested that pursuing distributed 3DP supply chains may be the result of strategic deliberation, yet it is also frequently noted that 3DP is prone to higher unit costs than conventional manufacturing. In this report we summarise the findings of a project which establishes an understanding of the relationship between the commercial performance of 3DP and the characteristics of its operation through the development of a demonstrator system.

In most industries 3DP faces the additional challenge of integrating with conventional manufacturing technologies and processes, which are normally operated in a centralised location. Economies of scale form one of the reasons for the dominance of centralised manufacturing, allowing the amortization of substantial costs over large volumes of products for the global marketplace. Complementing such centralised manufacturing, increasingly complex supply chains have emerged. Moreover, the implementation of appropriate supply chains is now seen as a core capability for manufacturing businesses.

In this context, a closer inspection of the typical work flow of 3DP reveals a puzzle: the current process for allocating build requirements to individual (potentially re-distributed) 3DP systems relies on an array of decisions on the operator/technician level, some of which can be automated and all of which will affect the overall efficiency of the 3DP process and the business case for its application. Thus, this project focusses on designing a demonstrator to provide a solution to this puzzle and further our understanding of the implementation of 3DP supply chains. Labelled the “3D Packing Research Application Tool” (3DPackRAT), the software demonstrator shows an avenue to the release of significant additional value by enabling a truly flexible and reactive manufacturing execution methodology that complements the strengths of 3DP. As an integrated approach to the build volume packing and scheduling problems encountered, this tool aims to determine the most appropriate 3DP system for each individual order in an automated process.

Effectively, such tools may allow adopters to leapfrog the gradual evolution of supply chain practise in response to the emergence of 3DP. To achieve this, the integrated computational framework we have implemented enables the inclusion of a wide range of general and location-related aspects in a single optimisation-based production planning procedure. Being fed an order stream, 3DPackRAT is designed to determine the best 3DP system for each build request. Crucially, this approach is also capable of considering the benefits resulting from re-distributed 3DP, driving supply chain structures towards such configurations where beneficial.

Our project was carried out as a collaborative and interdisciplinary programme of work between the 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at the Faculty of Engineering and the Automated Scheduling, Optimisation and Planning (ASAP) Research Group at the School of Computer Science, both at the University of Nottingham, over the course of 2016. The programme consisted of three elements:

  • Formulation of a portfolio of algorithms, heuristics and operational policies capable of addressing the combined build volume packing and scheduling problem for the baseline 3DP technology (Laser Sintering);
  • Development and implementation of the demonstrator system 3DPackRAT up to the status of a minimum viable product, allowing experimentation by 3rd parties;
  • Validation of the demonstrator system by interaction with a group of four industrial domain experts through presentations and live demonstrations, among them high-calibre international members of industry.

The project has demonstrated the possibility of implementing a joined-up approach to build volume packing and machine scheduling in 3DP and has shown that the problem in reality needs to be addressed in a multi-machine and multi-time period setting. Moreover, we have extended existing computational build volume packing methodologies to incorporate temporal aspects to address this problem.

Our interactions with various industrial partners advising the project indicate the requirement for such functionality. The demonstrator described in this report thus provides a first step in addressing the emerging workflow optimisation problem in 3DP in an integrated way.

[Image source: Martin Baumers]

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3D Printing Where and How: 3DP-RDM network event – 31st January

What: Final dissemination event of the 3DP-RDM network
Where: IfM, Cambridge
When: 31st January 2017
How: Register your participation on Eventbrite

Following the completion of the second round of 3DP-RDM feasibility studies you are warmly invited to join this dissemination event to hear the final results of these studies. This EPSRC-funded event will feature presentations from the four 3DP-RDM feasibility studies conducted during 2016. Registration for this event is free but tickets are limited. Register your participation on Eventbrite.

Provisional Agenda

12:30  Lunch, registration and networking
13:30  Welcome and introductions
13:45  Overview of 3DP-RDM
14:00  Supporting SMEs in creating value through 3DP-RPM, Dr Peter Dorrington, Cardiff Metropolitan University
14:45  3D Printing Production Planning (3DPPP): reactive manufacturing execution driving re-distributed manufacturing, Dr Martin Baumers, University of Nottingham
15:30  Refreshments and networking
16:00  A feasibility study of mass customisation governance: regulation, liability, and intellectual property of re‐distributed manufacturing in 3D printing, Dr Phoebe Li, University of Sussex
16:45  Driving Innovation in Redistributed Manufacturing: A Comparative Study in the British and Italian Motorsport Valleys, Dr Paolo Aversa, City University, and Dr Sebastiano Massaro, University of Warwick
17:30  Summary
17:45  Close and networking

[Image source]

Introducing the 3DP-RDM Feasibility Studies: 3D Printing Production Planning

Following the recent feasibility study competition, the 3DP-RDM network is funding four projects in 2016. In this series of blog posts we introduce the four studies. Today we introduce the final study, “3D Printing Production Planning (3DPPP): reactive manufacturing execution driving re-distributed manufacturing”, which is being led by Dr Martin Baumers at the University of Nottingham.

As an emerging manufacturing technology, Additive Manufacturing (AM) is demonstrating significant opportunities across a wide range of industrial sectors. Among the advantages of the technology are an ability to generate complex functional geometries and the technology’s efficiency in the manufacture of small numbers of products.

In most industries, however, AM faces the challenge of substituting, or integrating with, conventional manufacturing technologies, which are normally operated in a centralised location. Among the reasons for the dominance of centralised manufacturing are economies of scale, allowing the amortization of substantial costs over large volumes of products for the global marketplace. Additionally, the ability to implement suitable supply chain configurations has evolved from being an afterthought to a core capability for manufacturing businesses.

Viewing the work flow of AM in this context reveals a puzzle: the current process for allocating build requirements to individual (potentially re-distributed) AM systems, and thereby configuring the AM supply chain, relies on isolated and disconnected decisions on the operator/technician level. This is not indicative of efficient manufacturing order execution and effective supply chains.

As a collaboration between the 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) and the Automated Scheduling and Planning Research Group (ASAP), both at the University of Nottingham, this project is exploring the feasibility of adopting an optimisation-based manufacturing execution methodology that complements the strengths of AM. Essentially, the idea is to replace the existing process by a combined automated “all-in-one” production planning tool driven by a set of interchangeable build volume packing and scheduling heuristics. Considering a wide range of general and location-related aspects, the tool allows the determination of the best AM system for a build request, including the benefits resulting from re-distribution.

The tool under development is called the 3D Packing Research Application Tool (yes, the acronym is “3DPackRAT”…). In essence, it is a custom developed manufacturing execution platform to explore and deploy various algorithms, heuristics and policies to optimise the work flow in AM, both for the centralised and re-distributed settings. This should allow the release of significant additional value by making the process more effective, potentially enabling adopters to leapfrog the gradual evolution of supply chain management in response to AM as a new technology. More information, including a video walk through of the demonstrator, is available on the project website.

Project Group at the University of Nottingham: Martin Baumers, Ender Ozcan, Jason Atkin, Warren Jackson, Wenwen Li

Industrial advisers: Susan Reiblein (HP Enterprise), David Knight (Knightgraphics)

[Image source: Martin Baumers]

3D Printing and the Circular Economy paper accepted for publication

The Bit by Bit team are very pleased to announce that our paper on 3D printing and the circular economy, Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda, has been accepted for publication in Technological Forecasting & Social Change.

As we previously commented, the paper is the result of continued collaboration following an unsuccessful funding application to the EPSRC. With eleven authors, the paper draws together knowledge from a range of fields – business models, design, education, entrepreneurship, information science, and supply chains – and involves both academic and practitioner perspectives.  We’re very pleased that the ideas we developed and our proposed research agenda have found an outlet in this journal. Click here to read the pre-publication copy of the paper.

Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda

Mélanie Despeisse, Martin Baumers, Phil Brown, Fiona Charnley, Simon Ford, Alysia Garmulewicz, Scott Knowles, Tim Minshall, Letizia Mortara, Felix Reed-Tsochas and Jonathan Rowley

Abstract

The circular economy (CE) aims to radically improve resource efficiency by eliminating the concept of waste and leading to a shift away from the linear take-make-waste model. In a CE, resources are flowing in a circular manner either in a biocycle (biomass) or technocycle (inorganic materials). While early studies indicate that 3D printing (3DP) holds substantial promise for sustainability and the creation of a CE, there is no guarantee that it will do so. There is great uncertainty regarding whether the current trajectory of 3DP adoption is creating more circular material flows or if it is leading to an alternative scenario in which less eco-efficient localised production, demands for customised goods, and a higher rate of product obsolescence combine to bring about increased resource consumption. It is critical that CE principles are embedded into the new manufacturing system before the adoption of 3DP reaches a critical inflection point in which negative practices become entrenched. This paper, authored by both academic and industry experts, proposes a research agenda to determine enablers and barriers for 3DP to achieve a CE. We explore the two following overarching questions to discover what specific issues they entail: (1) How can a more distributed manufacturing system based on 3DP create a circular economy of closed-loop material flows? (2) What are the barriers to a circular 3D printing economy? We specifically examine six areas—design, supply chains, information flows, entrepreneurship, business models and education—with the aim of formulating a research agenda to enable 3DP to reach its full potential for a CE.

[Image source: Mélanie Despeisse]

New circular economy and 3D printing working paper

Back in February the Bit by Bit team responded to an EPSRC call for expressions of interest on the theme of the circular economy. As we’d been looking at sustainability issues connected to 3D printing we thought that this would be an excellent call to enable us to advance research in this area. However we knew that we couldn’t do the work alone and so coordinated a research proposal with Fiona Charnley at Cranfield University, Martin Baumers at the University of Nottingham, and Alysia Garmulewicz and Felix Reed-Tsochas at the University of Oxford, and with industrial support from Jonathan Rowley at Digits2Widgets, Scott Knowles at Fila-Cycle, and Phil Brown at the HSSMI.

Unfortunately our expression of interest wasn’t taken to the next stage of the proposal process. Despite this disappointment, the group was convinced of the importance of this work and so we’ve continued to work together, synthesizing our knowledge and perspectives from across our disciplines in a research paper “Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: a research agenda“. We’ve submitted this paper to the journal, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, and hope that the research agenda it outlines can provide a platform for other researchers to build on.

 

Abstract

The circular economy (CE) aims to radically improve resource efficiency by eliminating the concept of waste and leading to a shift away from the linear take-make-waste model. In a CE, resources are flowing in a circular manner either in a biocycle (biomass) or technocycle (inorganic materials). While early studies indicate that 3D printing (3DP) holds substantial promise for sustainability and the creation of a CE, there is no guarantee that it will do so. There is great uncertainty regarding whether the current trajectory of 3DP adoption is creating more circular material flows or if it is leading to an alternative scenario in which less eco-efficient localised production, demands for customised goods, and a higher rate of product obsolescence combine to bring about increased resource consumption. It is critical that CE principles are embedded into the new manufacturing system before the adoption of 3DP reaches a critical inflection point in which negative practices become entrenched. This paper, authored by both academic and industry experts, proposes a research agenda to determine enablers and barriers for 3DP to achieve a CE. We explore the two following overarching questions to discover what specific issues they entail: (1) How can a more distributed manufacturing system based on 3DP create a circular economy of closed-loop material flows? (2) What are the barriers to a circular 3D printing economy? We specifically examine six areas—design, supply chains, information flows, entrepreneurship, business models and education—with the aim of formulating a research agenda to enable 3DP to reach its full potential for a CE.

[Image source]