The paper analyses the impact of cheaper metal powder supplies on the comparative competitiveness of additive manufacturing (AM). By utilising two case studies, we compare the economic impact of an innovative titanium extraction method on Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and conventional methods of machining and casting. A switch-over analysis identifies the production quantities above which conventional manufacturing is more cost competitive than additive manufacturing. This analysis is performed for current raw material as well as cheaper raw material supply. The results illustrate the improved comparative competitiveness of SLM as the titanium supply is commoditised and more readily available in powder form. The responsiveness of the supply chain is improved as the switch-over point between SLM and conventional methods increases. Moreover, as the raw material supply chain for titanium is transformed through the use of this novel extraction method, the manufacturing supply chain is simplified.
- additive manufacturing competitiveness
- rapid manufacturing
- supply chain management
- switch-over analysis
- titanium commoditisation