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Assessing industrial barriers of additively manufactured digital spare part implementation in the machine-building industry: a cross-organizational focus group interview study

Sergei Chekurov (Mechanical Engineering, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)
Mika Salmi (Mechanical Engineering, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)
Victor Verboeket (Faculty of International Business and Communication, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, The Netherlands)
Tuomas Puttonen (Mechanical Engineering, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)
Tuomas Riipinen (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Espoo, Finland)
Antti Vaajoki (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Espoo, Finland)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 19 January 2021

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021

417

Abstract

Purpose

Although additive manufacturing (AM) has been demonstrated to have significant potential in improving spare part delivery operations and has been adopted to a degree in the aviation and automotive industries, its use in spare part production is still limited in other fields due to a variety of implementation barriers. The purpose of this article is to assess the significance of previously reported barriers in the context of the machine-building industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Adoption barriers are identified from the literature and formulated as hypotheses, which are verified with a set of focus group interviews consisting of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), AM service providers and quality inspection and insurance institutions. The results of the interviews are reported qualitatively, and the transcripts of the interviews are subjected to quantitative content analysis.

Findings

The article identifies distrust in quality, insufficient material and design knowledge among stakeholders and poor availability of design documentation on spare parts as the key barriers of adopting AM in the production of spare parts. The three key barriers are interconnected and training engineers to be proficient in design and material issues as well as producing high-quality design documentation will yield the highest increase in AM implementation in spare parts.

Originality/value

The article offers a unique approach as it investigates the subjective views of a cross-organizational group of industrial actors involved in the machine-building industry. The article contributes to the theory of digital spare parts by verifying and rejecting presented barriers of AM implementation and how they are interconnected.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The study was conducted as part of the Business from Digital Spare Parts (DIVALIITO) project funded by a consortium of companies and Business Finland.

Citation

Chekurov, S., Salmi, M., Verboeket, V., Puttonen, T., Riipinen, T. and Vaajoki, A. (2021), "Assessing industrial barriers of additively manufactured digital spare part implementation in the machine-building industry: a cross-organizational focus group interview study", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 909-931. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-06-2020-0239

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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