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The NPF was asked in October 2016 to develop a means to determine a business case for Additive Manufacturing. She reviewed many articles, industry publications, and Department of Defense guidance regarding AM and discovered that there was no consistent way to determine a business case for AM.

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“Although AM has been around for a while, it is still relatively new to the Department of Defense and the Navy,” said William Peterson, NAVSUP WSS NPF Operations Research Analyst and AMCAT Team Lead. “There is a lot of information out there about where additive manufacturing can best be used and what the benefits are, but there is no agreement on what metrics need to be collected to determine a business case or the cost of additive manufacturing.”

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NPF quickly realized that in order to determine a viable business case they needed to collect data to calculate both AM costs and time, as well as viable results to determine an AM business case.

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“We had to decide as a group what data we needed to collect to come up with additive manufacturing costs,” Peterson said. “The ultimate goal of the tool is to determine whether it is more cost-effective to use additive manufacturing or to use established supply systems.”

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The NPFs have developed the AMCAT web-based tool to provide the information needed to make an informed value decision. The tool is designed around standard engineering processes implemented by DoD AM production sites across the United States. AMCAT is a unique analysis tool that standardizes the collection of AM data, enables metric reporting and provides a comparison between AM and traditional supply chain solutions.

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“Right now NAVAIR and NAVSEA are our biggest advocates and have started using the web-based AMCAT, and we continue to collect data,” Peterson said.

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