Multi-criteria decision analysis of an innovative additive manufacturing technique for onboard maintenance

Falkonakis, Ioannis and Lotfian, Saeid and Yeter, Baran (2024) Multi-criteria decision analysis of an innovative additive manufacturing technique for onboard maintenance. Sustainability, 16 (9). 3763. ISSN 2071-1050 (

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Access to spare parts in the maritime industry is limited throughout most of a ship’s life cycle. The limitation is caused by both the geographical distance of vessels from suppliers and the often limited turnaround time during which parts can be delivered. Manufacturing some parts onboard is possible, but it is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. Advanced manufacturing techniques could be used to improve access to spare parts at sea by combining the desirable materials properties and flexibility of Direct Energy Deposition (DED) and the higher dimensional tolerances of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) manufacturing. The present study assesses the comparative viability of onboard implementation of advanced manufacturing techniques for offshore assets as a capital investment in different modes against an option of no onboard advanced manufacturing using a multi-criteria decision analysis method. To this end, a Technique to Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) is employed considering the techno-economic and environmental aspects of the decision-making process as well as the inherent challenges that come with a new area of research. Finally, the challenges, opportunities, and pathways to onboard maintenance using additive manufacturing are discussed within the scope of the sustainable future for ship and offshore energy assets.