Catene di fornitura basate sulla produzione additiva

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This article deals with the implementation of additive technologies in supply chains and addresses two open issues: the first one concerns the approaches and methods of evaluating the implementation of additive technologies in supply chains; the second one the relationship between the cost advantages allowed by additive technologies and the demand of additive products. In agreement with some scholars, the quantitative approach to the analysis of manufacturing technologies is recommended, and System Dynamics (SD) method is advised in order to measure the effects produced by the implementation of additive manufacturing in supply chains. SD models, simulates and, therefore, helps to understand the dynamics of conventional and additive manufacturing based supply chains. Cost structures can be built on basis of supply chains dynamic models, each of which refers to a different production technology, and used in comparative assessments. The supply chain modeling and simulation is an extension of Virtual Manufacturing to the entire value creation system.

In this article, no mathematical formalization of supply chain models is suggested, but rather a method of 'capturing' the variables for value chain modeling is proposed and a decision-making process for choosing the AM option is advised.

The aim of this article is twofold, seeking to weaken two hypotheses concerning additive manufacturing-based supply chains advanced by several scholars and found in literature. Firstly, the hypothesis of additive supply chain superiority compared to conventional supply chain based on qualitative evidence of the advantages that additive technologies generate in business and supply chains; secondly, the hypothesis of non-reachability of economies of scale by means of additive machines. According to the latter, the additive machines would be efficient only at a low volume of demand and production, and the convenience to use them would decrease with increasing demand. This article otherwise argues that additive machines are potentially able to achieve economies of scale; furthermore, that they can be implemented only after the quantitative measurement of the possible effects they can generate to the level of business and supply chain. In the future the advancement in technological development will lead to an improvement of additive machine technical characteristics on which economies of scale themselves depend - such as production time and qualitative standardization of products. This will likely allow implementing additive technologies for large-scale production.