Cost calculator

Additive Manufacturing cost tool

Estimate your Additive Manufacturing cost per part

In an early stage of business case contemplation an accurate calculation of manufacturing cost becomes complicated since multiple uncertain parameters  have to be taken into consideration. However, in the phase of a principle part identification and screening, a fast estimation model is required to determine the potential for any given part. The AMPOWER part cost calculator provides an estimation of the minimal and maximal cost for 7 different metal Additive Manufacturing technologies with 4 different alloys. Read more about the considerations and explanations of the cost tool here.

Version 1.1 – Last updated 04. May 2020

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.

  • Offset and support volume

    Besides the final part volume, many printed parts need support and offset material that needs to be considered. Support material is most common for LB-PBF, EB-PBF and Metal FDM processes. Offset material is needed when additional machining will be applied after printing. This is necessary for almost every part. In case of Wire Arc Deposition and Coldspray technologies, this volume can be significant and should always be considered.

  • 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 effect is most evident for Binder Jetting and Powder Bed Fusion processes.

  • Process coverage

    The cost per part includes system, material, consumable and labour cost. Machining is not included. The efforts for manual unpacking, data preparation and heat treatment are estimated based on average values.

  • 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.

  • Minimal to maximal range

    The minimum and maximum cost shown in the calculation are based on different system setups. For Powder Bed Fusion (LB-PBF, EB-PBF) for example, influence factors are the machine size and number of laser sources. Here, the MIN value per part considers a larger quad laser system, while the MAX value is based on a smaller dual laser system.

  • Material availability and size restrictions

    The calculator points out availability of different materials for the specific AM technology. This reflects the current state of the art. However, availability  might change quickly through technological advancements. The tool contemplates a general availability as soon as several service providers or users are using and/or offering the alloy group on the market. Size restrictions are bound to available machine sizes. The calculator differentiates between “challenging” and “impossible” sizes. For example, large components over 400 mm are challenging for Powder Bed Fusion technologies due to inherent stresses.

  • Post processing and heat treatment

    Simple heat treatment is included in LB-PBF under vacuum with high utilisation of oven capacity. HIP or other special processes are not included. Sinter based technologies include the debind and sintering process.

  • 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. Especially in technologies like Binder Jetting, current developments in the process chain might lead to a change in cost. Highly productive systems that are still in development are not considered.

Data and sources

Last data update: 03. April 2020

Published: 06. April 2020

Source: AMPOWER 2020

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