A Critical Review of Additive Manufacturing: An Innovation of Mass Customization

Yanan Yu, Gwia Kim, Kavita Mathur


Purpose:This paper reviews the literature on state-of-the-art 3D and 4D printing technology in the fashion mass customization context and proposes an innovative design concept for improving independent designers’ and small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) practice, premised on commercialized technology and accessible materials in the fashion mass customization business.
Design/methodology/approach:The literature review of 3D and 4D printing technologies enabled discussion of the possibilities of using them for mass customization, especially in the fashion industry. Then the study presented a prototype suggesting an approach to improve mass customization by combining two technologies.
Findings:The intrinsic worth of 3D and 4D printing technology has inspired researchers to strike an innovative path towards exploiting the potential for mass customization in the fashion industry, through embedding shape memory materials into 3D-printed objects. 4D printing was confirmed as offering potential for application in the fashion industry.
Research limitations:A fashion accessory case was presented, exemplifying such 3D/4D printed fashion items, but more studies experimenting with other types of fashion products are warranted.
Originality/value:This paper establishes appropriate knowledge flows between 4D printing technology and its commercial possibilities, by identifying the strengths of 4D printing technology, particularly in the fashion industry. In addition, integration of 3D and 4D printing components is proposed, to reduce consumer return rate and increase products’ hedonic value by facilitating change of shape of the 3D-printed object post printing.

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