Redesigning production systems

Publication Type:
Handbook of Sustainability in Additive Manufacturing, 2016, pp. 145 - 168
Issue Date:
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If it was possible to wind back the clock on the first Industrial Revolution, then a redesign of production systems, based on the information available now, would focus on reducing environmental impacts, maximising resources and adding value to all products created, as well as taking into account the health and wellbeing of workers and the distribution of populations. Additive manufacturing, combined with digital communication technologies, delivers the possibility that many of the goals can be achieved—leading to a much healthier planet. Based on current research into sustainability and additive manufacturing outcomes, this chapter provides a vision for the redesign of current production systems, supply chains and values that serves as starting point for re-establishing the human relationship with manufacturing and business practice. Current drivers for change are discussed and opportunities for reducing the environmental impact of production systems directly enabled by additive manufacturing are then considered. These are based on integrating additive manufacturing into the supply chain and the potential impact on the development cycle, inventory management, logistic postponement and the management of spare parts.
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