Abstract

Designing for any advanced manufacturing technology necessitates looking beyond the current manufacturing limitations that have constrained one’s previous design ideas. Moreover, fixation on existing and/or familiar manufacturing processes may prevent both the designers and project managers from considering new advanced manufacturing processes. We refer to this type of design fixation as Manufacturing Fixation in Design (MFD), and we explore its impact via semi-structured interviews with nine practicing engineers and engineering managers. These individuals have all personally experienced, or been impacted by, MFD in some form over the course of their careers, which span 17 different companies. We elicit their perceptions of MFD’s impact on manufacturing choices and observations as to when MFD occurs in the design process and how it has influenced past design and manufacturing choices. Our study reveals MFD is frequently experienced as a tendency to select manufacturing processes with which a designer is most familiar without considering other manufacturing options. This can restrict the use of advanced manufacturing technology — a phenomenon several interview subjects have directly observed. Methods of leveraging these findings to expedite the adoption of advanced manufacturing are discussed. Additionally, ways to overcome and mitigate MFD are proposed and identified as topics for future research.

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