In recent years, rapid technical progress has led to additive manufacturing achieving a high degree of technological maturity that enables a broad range of applications. This is reinforced in particular by the advantages of the technology, such as the production of complex components, smaller quantities and fast reaction times. However, a lack of knowledge of the various process techniques, such as insufficient potential assessment, specific design guidelines or even of process restrictions, often lead to different errors.
This paper presents a methodological approach to support designers in the manufacturing process selection of specific parts at an early stage of product development. In a four-stage procedure, potential part candidates are first identified and part classes formed on the basis of characteristics. Building on this, AM thinking is to be stimulated, for example, with the aid of design guidelines. A comparison between conventionally and additively manufactured parts can be made using a simplified cost model. The results are incorporated into a process model that supports companies in the systematic selection of manufacturing processes.