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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Additive Fertigung: Technologie, Markt und Innovation
by Wirth, Marco Andreas Alwin, Ph.D., Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitaet Wuerzburg (Germany), 2017, 305; 27766772
Abstract (Summary)

Additive manufacturing—commonly known as “3D printing”—denotes a manufacturing technology that facilitates the production of physical objects from digital three-dimensional blueprints. Layer manufacturing is the basic principle of the production process of all additive manufactured objects. Major benefits of this technology are that it allows for the creation of very complex models and its flexibility for various design geometries.

Today, for the first time, the increasing number of 3D printing service providers and the constantly growing range of affordable printers for home use, make this technology available to consumers, whereas the high costs limited the use to large enterprises in the past. Therefore, this technology is raising more and more public attention. Presently science and research focuses primarily on questions regarding materials and processes, while ignoring or missing out the discussion about economic and social impact. Therefore, this dissertation examines and focusses on the aspect of possible implications and consequences of the technology.

The thesis starts by introducing the main aspects of the technology, to establish a common understanding, which is key for understanding the dissertation. Followed by the description of specific techniques and processes, different terminologies of additive manufacturing are introduced to describe in detail how they are related.

In the further course the additive manufacturing value chain, its development, and involved stakeholders are outlined. Subsequent diverse business models out of the additive manufacturing context are systematically visualized and elucidated. Another important aspect are expectable economic potentials that can be deduced by a number of technical characteristics. A conclusion that can be drawn is that the room to maneuver is extended with regard to complexity, efficiency enhancement, and variety of versions. Insights gained hereby are also utilized to analyze two representatives of the branch of industry by way of example.

Thereafter, the additive manufacturing value chain, its development, and involved stakeholders are outlined. Diverse business models of the additive manufacturing are depicted and explained systematically. Another important aspect is possible future economic potentials that can be deduced by several technical characteristics. The conclusion of the findings show, that there is room for growth with regard to complexity, enhancement of efficiency, and variety of versions. Furthermore, the learnings are the basis for a detailed analysis of two representatives of this industry by way of examples and case studies.

One of the cases deals with the popular online platform and community Thingiverse that offers a platform for publishing, sharing, access, and remixing a broad range of printable digital models. The term remixing—originally known from the music domain—is very often used in various emerging open online platforms to describe the phenomenon of repurposing existing materials to create something new. However, despite its obvious relevance for the number and quality of innovations on such platforms, little is known about the process of remixing and its contextual factors. For that reason, an explorative study of remixing activities on the platform was conducted and is presented. Based on the findings of these empirically observed phenomena, a set of five theoretical propositions, practical recommendations and managerial implications are formulated. Predominant in the analysis are the role of remixes in design communities, the different patterns of remixing processes, the platform features that facilitate remixes, and the profile of the remixing platform’s users.

Due to disappointed expectations regarding home use 3D printing this democratic form of production has received only little attention. However, not focusing on the technology itself but on the hobbyist users reveals new insights on underlying innovation processes. The findings of a qualitative study with more than 75 designers show amongst other findings, that designers have already internalized the concept of remixing and apply it in various contexts, even beyond the platform. An additional contribution that extends previous research on innovation processes is the identification and description of six different remix processes that can be differentiated by means of the features skill level, trigger and motivation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thiesse , Frédéric , Friesike , Sascha
School: Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitaet Wuerzburg (Germany)
School Location: Germany
Source: DAI-C 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Economics
Keywords: Additive manufacturing
Publication Number: 27766772
ISBN: 9781392486252
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