Considerations and explanations
The cost calculation tool is based on a number of assumptions to allow for a simplified cost estimation. The following list highlights the most important factors.
Liquid metal printing technology
Liquid metal printing technology precisely places thousands of tiny drops per minute of molten aluminum to create parts. The printed parts have properties similar to precision castings. Raw material is low cost metal wire. Part extraction is a quick quenching process. The only safety requirements are for heat and argon gas.
Laser beam powder bed fusion
The most common metal Additive Manufacturing technology, laser beam powder bed fusion (LB-PBF) uses lasers to selectively melt aluminum powder into complex shapes one thin layer at a time. Raw material is costly specialty metal powder. Part extraction has a long cool down cycle followed by a detailed cutting process. Safety requirements for metal powder are extensive.
Dual laser vs. quad laser system
The cost calculator differentiates between dual laser and quad laser LB-PBF systems. Dual laser systems have small to medium-sized build volumes, while quad systems also differentiate by their larger build platform. This leads to higher productivity especially for larger quantities.
This includes the body of the part, the support material, and any extra material needed for secondary machining. The exact amount of support material depends on the process but it is commonly used for both LB-PBF and LMP. The amount of material needed for machining depends on the design.
Utilization and part quantity
The cost per part is calculated based on the assumption that no other parts are running on the machine. If ”Quantity” is set to 1, the whole process chain cost will be calculated to produce just this one part. If you want to assume a high utilization of the involved process chain, please change the “Quantity” to a higher number.
The cost per part includes system depreciation, material, consumable and labor costs. Machining is not included. The efforts for manual unpacking and data preparation are estimated based on average values. Heat treatment is not included.
Quality management and qualification
Cost for qualification efforts and quality assurance are not included in the cost tool. These costs may vary significantly depending on application and target industry.
In-house manufacturing vs. market pricing
The tool calculates cost based on an in-house production scenario. Overheads are only included for personnel; margins are not included. Both heavily depend on each industry. Market pricing might differ significantly.
State of the art
The cost calculator is generally based on currently available technologies and systems. Available means that machine and production capacities for the technology and material are widely accessible.
Lead time for single part
The lead time is defined by the time it takes for the first part to be completed after all process steps. This includes all necessary steps such as data preparation, Additive Manufacturing process and post processing. Heat treatment is not included and may add several hours of lead time if required.
AMPOWER is the leading consultancy in the field of industrial Additive Manufacturing. AMPOWER advises their clients on strategic decisions by developing and analyzing market scenarios as well as compiling technology studies.