Polymer system utilization
Industry average of 70 % system utilization
The utilization is calculated from the actual runtime of the machine and the total available hours, i.e. 8,760 hours per year. Typical reasons for unproductive downtime of a machine can be maintenance and service, no availability of personnel to setup a machine or simply lack of production orders.
Many Additive Manufacturing production machines can run without operator input over multiple days. Therefore, in industries that fully embraced polymer Additive Manufacturing as production technology, such as medical and dental, machines can run at 85 % utilization or even higher. Here the production runs can be scheduled down to the minute weeks or months ahead and, thus, enable the full use of the available manufacturing capacity.
Currently the average utilization rate over all industrially installed systems is 70.7 %. The highest utilization is achieved by dental and aerospace users with 79 %. These industries have progressed so far in the use of AM in their series production, that vendors have agreed to penalties, if an AM system experiences unplanned downtime.
However, even the utilization in these industries is widely spread. While some R&D focused facilities have utilization rates in the range of 20 % to 40 %, others claim rates of 80 % and higher.
AMPOWER believes that a system utilization within serial production of 80 % and more is possible. Especially Area-wise Vat Polarization system are often designed to produce parts nonstop with only minimal unproductive time. A change of build platforms only takes a few moments, so that the run time can be maximized. At the end of the day, the utilization is still often limited by one factor: the operator – machine interaction.