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Near net shape manufacturing of metal : a review of approaches and their evolutions

Marini, Daniele and Cunningham, David and Corney, Jonathan R (2017) Near net shape manufacturing of metal : a review of approaches and their evolutions. Proceedings for Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture. ISSN 2041-2975

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Abstract

In the last thirty years the concept of manufacturability has been applied to many different processes in numerous industries. This has resulted in the emergence of several different "Design for Manufacturing" methodologies which have in common the aim of reducing productions costs through the application of general manufacturing rules. Near net shape technologies have expanded these concepts, targeting mainly primary shaping process, such as casting or forging. The desired outcomes of manufacturability analysis for near-net-shape (NNS) processes are cost and lead/time reduction through minimization of process steps (in particular cutting and finishing operations) and raw material saving. Product quality improvement, variability reduction and component design functionality enhancement are also achievable through NNS optimization. Process parameters, product design and material selection are the changing variables in a manufacturing chain that interact in complex, non-linear ways. Consequently modeling and simulation play important roles in the investigation of alternative approaches. However defining the manufacturing capability of different processes is also a “moving target” because the various NNS technologies are constantly improving and evolving so there is challenge in accurately reflecting their requirements and capabilities. In the last decade, for example, CAD, CNC technologies and innovation in materials have impacted enormously on the development of NNS technologies. This paper reviews the different methods reported for NNS manufacturability assessment and examines how they can make an impact on cost, quality and process variability in the context of a specific production volume. The discussion identifies a lack of structured approaches, poor connection with process optimization methodologies and a lack of empirical models as gaps in the reported approaches.