Concurrent fused filament fabrication with multiple extruders

Yu Jin, Harry A. Pierson, Haitao Liao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Additive manufacturing (AM) is well known for its potential to facilitate mass customization and low-volume, high-mix production with relatively few geometric constraints. A good example is the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) process. However, such AM processes are often considerably slower than traditional manufacturing processes, and this represents one of the most significant barriers to widespread applications of AM. A promising solution is the parallel processing of individual layers. This research investigates a concurrent manufacturing strategy for improving the production speed of the FFF process with multiple extruders working in parallel. To achieve the minimum production time, a scheduling problem is formulated to coordinate the toolpaths of multiple extruders under collision-avoidance constraints. Two heuristic solution algorithms are described, and their performance is compared for various layer profiles. Numerical examples are provided to demonstrate the performance of the two algorithms, and to show a method for determining the optimal number of extruders based on layer characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication67th Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers 2017
PublisherInstitute of Industrial Engineers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780983762461
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event67th Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers 2017 - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: May 20 2017May 23 2017


Other67th Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers 2017
CountryUnited States


  • Concurrent fused filament fabrication
  • Multiple extruders
  • Process scheduling
  • Toolpath allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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