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Title: A strategy to deploy rapid prototyping within SMEs
Author: Romouzy Ali, Ahmed Mustafa
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2013
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The new century has provided extraordinary opportunities for new product development and manufacturing improvement through the creation of technologies in prototyping and manufacturing. These new technologies enable better allocation of financial resources, save time and create a culture of anticipation and innovation rather than one of design and development. Rapid Prototyping (RP) is at the forefront of this revolution in manufacturing. RP is based on completely new additive techniques that produce fully functional parts directly from a three-dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) model without the use of tooling. This offers the potential to change the concept of prototyping, manufacturing, service and distribution with opportunities for producing highly complex and customised products. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the foundation of the UK economy, generating value and making a significant and crucial contribution to its productivity and performance. The current trade and industry situation has boosted the importance of the SMEs in both developed and developing countries due to the increased reliance of the international partners, but the important point at this stage is that these SMEs should be ready to embrace this global technological challenge. The context of this research, within industrial/manufacturing SMEs, has significance for stimulating new product development, productivity and competitiveness through the deployment of RP technologies within the SMEs. A broad literature review has been conducted, and a longitudinal mixed methodological approach was adopted for the data collection. This has involved a structured questionnaire survey followed by semi-structured interviews with the Executive Managers of SMEs from the industrial/manufacturing sector in the South West of England. The analysis of the collected data, in tandem with the supporting literature, has revealed the factors that influence the deployment of RP technology in SMEs. These findings were formulated into a strategy to help SMEs in making the decision of whether or not to deploy RP technology. The strategy was validated through evaluation and feedback from the Executive Managers of a number of SMEs. This research has contributed new knowledge in the area of RP deployment in SMEs which could potentially have a role in assisting their business survival through increased growth and competitiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Manufacturing