The Synergistic Integration of Mass Customization, Parametric Design and Additive Manufacturing: A Case of Personalized Footwear
The quest for cost-efficient products coupled with increasing demands for personalized products has compelled manufacturers to seek affordable means to provide customized products to clients. Since customer satisfaction is paramount to the survival of manufacturing firms, a method that ensures customer satisfaction without jeopardizing profit margins must be devised. Mass customization enables organizations to offer limited product variety through modularization; however, customer demands and expectations for tailored products surpass that offered by product modularization. This research explores the idea of applying parametric design principles to the design of mass customizable products suitable for three-dimensional (3D) printing. A Design-Manufacturing framework has been proposed in this research in order to obtain synergy of mass customization, parametric design, and 3D printing in the production of tailored products that require flexible and modifiable design. The parametric design concept is tested through the flexible design of a footwear, customized at the design phase via user specified parameters. The proposed methodology combines the principles of mass customization and parametric design in the design of a personalized footwear which is then realized using 3D printing. The benefits of this synergistic integration are enumerated in the summary of results. Finally, opportunities and economic impact of the application of parametric design concept, specifically to the mass customization of 3D printed products in developing countries is discussed.