Mass Production – Is 3D printing up to the supply chain challenge?

Trends in additive manufacturing for end-use production was a recent in-depth look at what some see as the the next phase of 3D printing.

3D printed sneakers, custom-fit insoles, clothing and toys  – commercial 3D printing – are often the subject of hype surrounding 3D printing’s integration into the supply chain. There are many big names behind these projects, for example adidas and Carbon of Futurecraft 4D sneakers, Formlabs and New BalanceEOS and Under Armour. However, the making of 3D printing for series-level manufacturing will, in many ways, be shaped by its adoption in China and the surrounding countries – the global center of mass production.

The Impact of 3D Printing Technology on Supply Chain in China is considered in a new report by H.K. Chan, J. Griffin, J.J. Lim, F. Zeng and A.S.F. Chiu, of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, the University of Exeter in the UK, and De La Salle University in the Philippines.

“WITH 3DP PRODUCTION CAN BE STARTED ON A MADE-TO-ORDER BASIS. […] IN OTHER WORDS, THE EXCESSIVE INVENTORY STOCKING UP DUE TO UNCERTAIN DEMAND ALONG A SUPPLY CHAIN, KNOWN AS THE FAMOUS BULLWHIP EFFECT, SHOULD ACCORDINGLY BE REDUCED.”

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