Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing in New Product Development




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Peer reviewed



Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing in New Product Development. –Research-through-practice informed by practise as research (Portfolio) This research highlights the realities of utilising various rapid prototyping (RP) and additive manufacturing (AM) techniques in terms of their current limits (‘dirty secrets’) and valid opportunities in new product development at present. It centres on commissioned design research projects for Oxford Instruments (OI) - Finland (X-Met hand held X-Ray device), Petainer - Sweden (Cask fitting for real ale dispensing) and Rober UK (Air distribution manifold for pressure relief mattress). Each of these products is innovative in its own right but combined this work provides a highly original overview on RP and AM at present by comparing and contrasting these and related technologies across three very different product developments. This work draws on design innovation, development and implementation methodologies, in which the investigator is a leading authority. The design research for OI highlights the validity of using low volume high cost Rapid Prototyping (RP) techniques for initial manufacture but highlights excessive cost and quality issue for ultimate manufacture, the design research for Petainer highlights the short comings in current AM techniques for strength and accuracy compared with soft tool injection moulding techniques but the benefits of wire erosion in prototyping. The design research for Rober not only highlights genuine commercial opportunity for Selective Laser Sintering, but identifies the need and opportunity for design innovation within techniques such as these (with the development of a new method of removing non fused powder from normally inaccessible geometries), that is to unlock AM’s potential, resulting in patent application (GB 1315083.4).
Findings culminated in an international conference paper on Engineering and Product Design Education in Dublin, September 2013.


This is a REF2014 UOA34 portfolio submission


New Product Development, Additive Manufacturing


Ford, P.B. (2013) Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing in New Product Development. Portfolio submission.


Research Institute