A decision-making methodology integrated in product design for additive manufacturing process selection

Wei Liu (School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Zicheng Zhu (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Songhe Ye (Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 28 February 2020



The decision-making for additive manufacturing (AM) process selection is typically applied in the end of the product design stages based upon an already finished design. However, due to unique characteristics of AM processes, the part needs to be designed for the specific AM process. This requires potentially feasible AM techniques to be identified in early design stages. This paper aims to develop such a decision-making methodology that can seamlessly be integrated in the product design stages to facilitate AM process selection and assist product/part design.


The decision-making methodology consists of four elements, namely, initial screening, technical evaluation and selection of feasible AM processes, re-evaluation of the feasible process and production machine selection. Prior to the design phase, the methodology determines whether AM production is suitable based on the given design requirements. As the design progresses, a more accurate process selection in terms of technical and economic viability is performed using the analytic hierarchy process technique. Features that would cause potential manufacturability issues and increased production costs will be identified and modified. Finally, a production machine that is best suited for the finished product design is identified.


The methodology was found to be able to facilitate the design process by enabling designers to identify appropriate AM technique and production machine, which was demonstrated in the case study.


This study addresses the gap between the isolated product design and process selection stages by developing the decision-making methodology that can be integrated in product design stages.



Liu, W., Zhu, Z. and Ye, S. (2020), "A decision-making methodology integrated in product design for additive manufacturing process selection", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 895-909. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-06-2019-0174

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