Additive manufacturing (AM), or popular scientific 3D printing, disseminates in more and more production processes. This changes not only production processes themselves, e.g. by replacing subtractive production technologies, but AM will in all likelihood also impact the configuration of supply networks. Due to a more efficient use of raw materials, transportation relations may change and production sites may be relocated. How this change will look like is part of an ongoing discussion in industry and academia. However, quantitative studies on this question are scarce. In order to quantify the potential impact of AM on a two-stage supply network, we use a facility location model. The impact of AM on the production process is integrated into the model by varying resource efficiency ratios. We create a test data set of 700 instances. Features of this data set are, among others, different geographical clusters of source nodes, production nodes, and customer nodes. By means of a computational study, the impact of AM on the supply network structure is measured by four indicators. In the context of our experimental set-up, AM reduces the overall transportation costs of a supply network compared to subtractive production. However, the share of the transportation costs on the second stage of a supply network in the total costs increases significantly. Therefore, supply networks in which production sites and customer sites are closely spaced improve their cost-effectiveness stronger than other regional configurations of supply networks.
Supply network Additive manufacturing 3D printing Quantitative assessment Two-stage capacitated facility location problem