Skip to main content

Additive manufacturing: Business models

The development of the AM sector is an enabling factor in some of the emerging business models including the Circular Economy. Whilst keeping a technical focus to our research we have also worked collaboratively with other organisationsand departments to investigate the effect AM could have on some of these developing concepts.

Research projects include:

The Re-distributed Manufacturing for Resilient, Sustainable Cities (ReDReSC) network is led by the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Exeter and West of England to develop a vision, roadmap and research agenda addressing the implication of Re-Distributed Manufacturing (RDM).

RDM represents technologies, systems and strategies that change the economics and organisation of manufacturing, particularly with regards to location and scale. The aim of the network is to explore how manufacturing will have to react in a future where the whole manufacturing supply chain will be increasingly affected by material scarcity and consequential increased prices, as well as, climate change, potential geo-political conflicts and disruptive technologies.

The team at Exeter was tasked with understanding the underlying technical, economic, social and political developments, to identify where RDM would be most appropriately applied and whether additive manufacturing could be a viable tool. As part of this network we interviewed businesses and other manufacturing groups to assess their level of understanding to ascertain the challenges associated with introducing this new concept.

Additive and hybrid manufacturing have been identified as potential promising technologies for implementing RDM, especially in the area of spares for replacement and repairs.

Funded by: EPSRC

Partners: University of Bristol, University of Cardiff, University of Exeter, University of Bath and University West of England

The study will complete an independent cost-benefit analysis that supports or discredits the premise: “The adoption of Additive Manufacturing in Defence Logistics has the potential to deliver huge cost savings.” To test this hypothesis, the study will consider the end to end logistics chain approach in order to identify, how, where and to what extent, additive manufacturing would differ in approach and costs when compared to the current spares and repair strategy.

Funded by: The Defence, Support and Logistics framework

Partners: Arke Ltd, Ricardo plc and Polaris Consulting Ltd