Additive Manufacturing Leadership Initiative Updates Additive Manufacturing Body of Knowledge

Additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, is changing on a near-daily basis. In order to stay current, and maintain a shared understanding of these constant shifts, the Additive Manufacturing Leadership Initiative (AMLI) continues to update the Additive Manufacturing Body of Knowledge.

This Body of Knowledge (BOK) was originally completed by the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) along with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 2013. The latest update was in 2016 and it is quite a feat.

What Is A Body Of Knowledge?

The formal definition of a Body of Knowledge (BOK or BoK) is the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a professional domain, as defined by the relevant learned society or professional association.[1] It is a type of knowledge representation by any knowledge organization.

The 2016 Additive Manufacturing BOK is a comprehensive overview of the current state-of knowledge in additive manufacturing, as well as areas that have been identified as important by a wide range of additive manufacturing professionals. The Additive Manufacturing BOK can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Inform the development of training and educational program content
  • Focus the design of intern and apprentice experiences
  • Establish the desired content of industry recognized certificate programs and certifications
  • Provide the structure for the development of detailed Additive Manufacturing BOK content and resources

Over 500 additive manufacturing professionals responded to the Additive Manufacturing BOK update questionnaire. These results were tabulated and interpreted by members of the Additive Manufacturing Leadership Initiative (AMLI). Based on the survey, the following changes were made in the 2016 Additive Manufacturing BOK:

  1. Terminology was revised to bring the Additive Manufacturing BOK in line with ASTM AM standards.
  2. The following four categories were added: Additive Manufacturing (AM) Materials (formerly combined with AM Technology & Materials), AM Technology & Methods (reflects the removal of materials to another category), AM Post-Processing, and AM Safety.
  3. The following categories were identified as additive manufacturing resources rather than Additive Manufacturing BOK categories, and were either removed or not added to the 2016 AMBOK though suggested: Careers in AM, AM History, AM People, and AM Entrepreneurship. This is not a reflection on the importance of the content in these areas, but rather an indication that the ideal placement of these categories is not within the 2016 Additive Manufacturing BOK.
  4. Key topics within each category were edited to reflect newly developed areas or areas not identified in the 2013 Additive Manufacturing BOK.

The Additive Manufacturing BOK update questionnaire also explored areas of training interest and importance. The top five additive manufacturing topics for training interest and importance were identified as:

  1. New methods for AM design qualification
  2. AM materials – overall, new, and enhanced
  3. Scaling for AM direct production
  4. Electron beam melting
  5. Models for education and training/re-training design engineers

AMLI consists of Tooling U-SME, America Makes–National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM), the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC), and the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). It utilized TEAMM’s Core Competencies for additive manufacturing technicians to plan content for training classes, certificate and certification programs, and ultimately develop Additive Manufacturing BOK-based resources including books on the topic.

A copy of the 2016 Additive Manufacturing BOK with specific changes, and summary data from the Additive Manufacturing BOK update questionnaire is available for viewing and download here.

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