3-D and the Global Supply Chain

Over the last 5 years, 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has had a tremendous influence in our industry. It is considered the current and future of almost any conceivable form of fabrication.  Though this technology has been embraced by enthusiasts from small-time makers to international aerospace ventures, questions about its cost effectiveness are paramount to widespread adoption. Here’s why.

Costs of production for additive manufacturing fall into two categories: “well-structured” costs, such as labor, material, and machine costs, and “ill-structured” costs, which can include machine setup, inventory, and build failure.  Right now, most cost studies focus on well-structured costs, which comprise a significant portion of 3-D printing production and are cited by detractors as evidence of cost ineffectiveness. Unfortunately, these studies focus on the production of single parts and tend to overlook supply chain effects, thus failing to account for the significant cost benefits which are often concealed within inventory and supply chain considerations.

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3D Printing Case Example: On the highway to the comfort zone

Case Study: 3D Printing is on the Highway to the Comfort Zone-1The history of the Oberle shoe company began more than 150 years ago. In 1859, the great-great grandfather of Oberle’s current General Manager, Achim Oberle, opened a cobbler’s shop in Ettenheim that made shoes for customers in town and the surrounding areas. In 2006, the company began specializing in “Healthy Shoes.” And today, it’s recognized as a leader in the orthopedic footwear technology space. The company saves a lot of time and money by using the German RepRap X350pro 3D printer.

Oberle – Gesunde Schuhe is a specialty manufacturer that develops products for everything associated with legs, feet, and/or extremities. Behind its products is a highly technical process. The so-called 3D posture analysis (which involves 3D measurements of whole body posture), as well as the 3D walking analysis (which measures gait, body angles, and forces), have long been standard procedures for this company. To stay on the cutting edge of the industry, Oberle – Gesunde Schuhe must continuously employ state-of-the-art technologies as they become available.

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Chanel to produce up to 1 million 3D printed mascara brushes a month

Chanel Parfums Beauté, the cosmetics unit of the famous French design house, has turned to 3D printing for the production of an unlikely item: a mascara brush. In partnership with France-based Erpro 3D Factory, Chanel says it will begin manufacturing mascara brushes on an industrial scale using 3D printing.

When applying mascara, one might not think twice about the wand they unscrew from the bottle and lightly drag across their eyelashes. The truth is, however, that a ton of engineering and testing has gone into that seemingly simple object before it was put into production, marketed, and ultimately purchased.

From being eye-friendly, safe, effective, and even aesthetically pleasing, a lot goes in to making a mascara brush, which is why Chanel became interested in exploring 3D printing technologies for their production.

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Oracle and the impact of 3D printing on supply chains

Oracle’s Supply Chain expert, Dominic Regan, discusses the impact 3D printing is having on the supply chain

Oracle’s Supply Chain expert, Dominic Regan, discusses the impact 3D printing is having on the supply chain and how the multinational database giant is supporting the dynamic additive manufacturing market by helping to increase business agility, lower costs, and reduce IT complexity

Oracle is best known for its database services, offered to business since the company started over 40 years ago. This technology background was the platform to expand into applications in the ERP space and several other disciplines including supply chain.

Oracle supports the classic approach to designing products, planning and forecasting supply and demand, focusing on procurement and the sourcing of products in the manufacturing space then providing the logistics of fulfilment via transport and global trade warehouse management before closing that cycle with service, so once a product has been delivered it can manage the repair and maintenance process.

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How distributed and agile manufacturing power new business models

3D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing, is changing the way things are made; and not just on a small scale or prototyping sense, but changing the way global scale production gets done.

Gartner believes that in 2018, 3D printing will accelerate new business model innovation. Here are some of the 3D printing predictions by Gartner:

  • By 2021, 75 percent of new commercial and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed engine, airframe and other components.
  • By 2021, 25 percent of surgeons will practice on 3D-printed models of the patient prior to surgery.
  • By 2021, 20 percent of the world’s top 100 consumer goods companies will use 3D printing to create custom products.
  • By 2021, 20 percent of enterprises will establish internal startups to develop new 3D print-based products and services.
  • By 2021, 40 percent of manufacturing enterprises will establish 3D printing centers of excellence (COE). “The long-term goal of a 3DP COE is to become a seamless part of the design and manufacturing process. When successful, the COE has broad implications on use of 3DP in the design, manufacturing and maintenance of products,” – Gartner

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How local manufacturing is redefining humanitarian aid

Local manufacturing is not a new concept, but advancements in technology and design mean that now more than ever, it is a viable option – especially when it comes to disaster recovery and helping war and weather-torn areas. Field Ready’s Eric James talks about how creating supplies-in-the-field can make all the difference when responding to humanitarian crises.

In regions where something as simple as an umbilical cord clamp or a plastic u-bend can help save lives, local manufacturing can have a hugely positive impact. Hard to reach areas stricken by disaster, conflict and extreme poverty can be slow to receive emergency aid and broken or non-existent supply chains often mean that people in these areas don’t have the equipment they need when or where they need it.

local manufacturing

Access to the right technology can circumvent these supply chain problems and can mean the difference between waiting weeks and sometimes months for medical equipment, power or clean water to having systems up and running in a day or even less. But local manufacturing isn’t just about the technology. It’s about putting the people – the communities – first, focusing on the actual support they need on the ground. We can then apply design thinking and other methods to map the technology best suited to meeting their needs and alleviating their suffering as quickly as possible – not the other way around.

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3D printing: from the automotive design studio to the factory floor

The automotive industry is in a state of flux. Significant swings in gas prices, as well as environmental and political pressures, challenge the industry to balance between the economics of gas guzzling SUVs and lightweight electric vehicles. Ride-sharing and shared ownership business models are gaining momentum, and leaps in technology have put autonomous vehicles on the road, changing the way we view our use of cars. Automotive manufacturers must adapt to all that change, whilst also facing the age-old challenge of minimizing p roduction costs. Scott Sevcik, VP Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys, considers 3D printing – the definition of disruptive technology – and its role supporting the automotive industry as it adjusts to a new reality.

Using additive manufacturing in the automotive industry

The automotive industry was one of the first to really grasp the benefits of 3D printing. Long used as a tool for rapid prototyping, it was this industry that led high-end 3D printer and material sales in recent years, but this was often kept under wraps as cagey design studios withheld their secret weapon. By slashing design costs and timescales, even contributing to better design by enabling adaptations on the fly with multiple iterations in a matter of hours, 3D printing has made a significant contribution to the automotive design process. As the technology and materials continue to advance even further, it’s a trend set to stay for the foreseeable future.

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HP accelerates digital transformation of manufacturing with high-volume 3D production and applications

Customers worldwide ramping up 3D printing installations;
More than 3 million Multi Jet Fusion parts produced in last year alone;
Breakthrough program to digitally reinvent HP product lifecycle

News highlights:                 

  • Industry-wide acceleration of 3D printing for production of end-use parts and large-scale prototyping
  • Forecast 3D, GoProto, Stern, and more increasing Multi Jet Fusion capacity to meet rising demand
  • Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program leverages 3D across HP’s product lifecycle

ST. LOUIS, April 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today at the world’s largest 3D printing user event, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, HP Inc. showcased new large-scale customer deployments and its own Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program as the industry accelerates its journey to full-scale 3D production.  According to Wohlers Report 2018, the production of functional parts, including functional prototyping, is now the industry’s leading additive manufacturing use-case and the demand for production-grade parts is expected to continue to grow exponentially.  As the market leader, shipping more plastic production 3D printers than any other company in the world[1], HP is delivering both unprecedented capabilities and economic advantages to its manufacturing customers, and also embracing its own technology to transform the design, production, and distribution of HP products worldwide.

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Nadcap certification of metal 3D printing in aerospace

Achieving the highest quality standards is crucial in the aviation industry, where even the smallest of defects can have serious consequences. Besides the expansion of e-mobility, one of the most important recent developments in this field is the ability to produce components using additive manufacturing.

Nadcap certification of metal 3D printing in aerospace

This is particularly beneficial in the aviation sector, where every single gram of weight saved can reduce flight operating costs. This is why toolcraft not only produces aircraft parts conventionally using CNC machining, but employs additive manufacturing processes as well. The company covers the complete process chain, from design and manufacture to quality assurance and testing. 3D metal printing has been an established manufacturing technique in its own right for many years, having successfully made the transition from being used for prototype production. Nadcap certification of the process is a further milestone in its development.

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The Medical Industry and 3D Printing: A Perfect Match

Medical device designers and manufacturers have many special needs that 3D printing can help meet.

Fig. 1

3D printing, also known as rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, is slowly making the leap from a method of making prototypes to one that can also make functional parts. But even in its current state, doctors and biomedical engineers can make good use of 3D printing in a wide variety of links in the medical-device value chain, according to Stratasys, one of the leading manufacturers of 3D printers and a presenter at the MDTX Show.

For medical R&D. 3D printing does live up to its original name of rapid prototyping. It lets biomedical engineers move more quickly from design to physical object and from verification to validation, and then the final design. They can mock up a non-working version to test the fit and form of instruments and implants. In many instances, 3D printing also lets them build functional parts for testing. The prototypes are created quickly compared to previous times when they were hand-crafted by skilled modelers. This speeds up the design phase by letting the engineering team go quickly through several iterations on a design, incrementally improving it or rejecting different approach. Prototypes can also be given to physicians for feedback, and they intuitively understand 3D prototype faster than by trying to understand how a 2D model on a computer screen will look and feel.

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