Purpose - Company pressure for manufacturers is mounting from two angles: Increasing pressure of global competition, and rapid advancements in technology such as additive manufacturing (AM) that are altering the way that goods are manufactured. The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption process of AM within a manufacturing system and its business impact. Design/methodology/approach - Research was conducted to collect empirical data at two manufacturing case companies in the North West England. Both cases are located in areas of industrial recovery using AM engineering innovation for value creation. Findings - Early findings showed that the implementation of AM caused a shift in value propositions and the creation of additional value streams (VSs) for the case study companies. AM was shown to compliment and strengthen traditional manufacturing VSs rather than replacing them. Research limitations/implications - Limitations include the generalizability due to the number and location of case companies included in this research. Practical implications - It is worthwhile to explore the opportunities that AM brings with the existing customer base as it has the potential to add unexplored and untapped value. However, managers need to be mindful of the capability and resources required to put the VS into practice. Social implications - Both cases resulted in skill retainment and development due to the implementation of AM. Hence, the innovation contributed to regional economic recovery and business survival. Originality/value - This empirical research is one of the early field explorations focussing on the impact of AM on VS structures. Hence, this paper contributes to the area of technology enhanced manufacturing systems.