3D printing technology enhancing logistics for Army

A Soldier holds a cap used to protect the fire extinguishing system housed in the wheel wells of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Without the cap, MRAPs are deemed non-mission-capable. Soldiers in Korea saved 1,472 operational days for their MRAPs by 3-D printing the caps for about $2.50 each.
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This photo shows a 3D printer producing six-inch cap, used to protect the fire extinguishing system housed the wheel wells of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Soldiers in Korea identified a fire-suppression cap degradation issue and turned to 3D printing technology for help. The team requested engineering support from the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
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FORT MEADE, Md. — As 3D printing increases both in the field and at depots, the Army’s Center of Excellence for Additive and Advanced Manufacturing is slated to reach initial operating capability this year at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.

Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-4, outlined the Army’s current 3D printing capabilities at the 2019 Military Additive Manufacturing Summit and Technology Showcase Feb. 6, in Tampa, Florida. 

At the summit, defense, academia, and industry officials were privy to the latest additive manufacturing technologies, event officials said. The Army will leverage these improved 3D printing capabilities to bolster equipment readiness and reduce logistics burdens, Piggee said.

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Truck OEMs, suppliers look to online growth, 3D printing

Equipment and component manufacturers in the trucking industry are looking to expand their online presence and also see potential in 3D printing, both of which could help them reach more customers, they said.

A technician works on a part that was made using a 3D printer.

Daimler Trucks North America is expanding alliancetruckparts.com, its e-commerce platform, and has seen an increase in customers using pinnacletruckparts.com, its dealer-sponsored e-commerce solution.

Ultimately, customers will decide how they communicate with the company, said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice president of aftermarket.

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RSA National combines logistics with 3D printing in Dubai

RSA Global, a tech-based 3PL based in Dubai, has partnered with 3D printing pioneer Immensa Technology Labs to combine logistics with the digital inventory and virtual warehousing of spare parts.

RSA estimates up to 10 percent of all spare parts are suitable for additive manufacturing and 3D printing will eventually capture 5.0 percent of global demand – making it a US$640 billion industry.

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Established in 2016, the Immensa 8,300 sq.ft. facility provides end-users with 3D printing for on-demand inventory production capability – substantially reducing raw material costs and lead times while enabling greater scope for production line customization.

RSA will complement the 3D process with supply chain management and distribution via its several regional partnerships that includes Orlando, Florida-based National Air Cargo.

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3D Printing Could Bring Supply Chain Closer to Customers

G. David Gerrard

Most of the talk surrounding 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) in the trucking industry centers on how it can be used to supply replacement parts for older vehicles. But the real value in 3D printing is much greater than that, including potentially enabling a return to more customization in the initial vehicle specification and manufacturing process, reduction in life cycle costs and bringing the supply chain closer to customers.

By its very nature, 3D printing allows parts to be made on a smaller scale and without a manufacturer having to commit the major resources required to mass produce a product.

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How will 3D printing alter the movement of freight?

Turning bits into atoms in real-time? It’s as profound as the idea of instantly sharing thoughts across the world would have been to a person just a few decades ago. So how close are we to the dreams of the 21st century, and what does 3D printing have to do with it?

Mercedes-Benz Trucks is printing 3D parts for some of its European distributors. 3D printing could alter supply chains as businesses would not need to ship inventory or components long distances.

The story begins with manufacturing. Layer-by-layer, additive manufacturing, colloquially still called 3D printing, is a disruptive form of manufacturing that is transforming—in the short term—the spare parts supply chain. Soon enough it will be much more. A San Francisco startup is printing houses—with better construction and for less money per square meter than standard construction today. And if you think it’s all just plastic, think again. They’re printing cars. They’ve been printing jet engines since early 2015.

Around the globe, people are using 3D printing to create all manner of things, even 3D printing food. Instead of carrying slow moving parts across a network of warehouses, these warehouses will just manufacture the parts as needed. 3D printing offers many advantages over traditional manufacturing, like the ability to print hard-to-find machine parts on demand, or print shapes that aren’t found in traditional manufacturing processes.

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Agility and flexibility in the age of digital supply chains – Insights from the 2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expo

Extract from the main article on the Insights from the 2017 Supply Chain & Logistics EMEA summit & expo:

Digital disruption upending the seaports: In quite a fascinating panel discussion with Jordi Torrent of the port of Barcelona and Matthijs van Doorn of the port of Rotterdam, they talked about how the seaport business is turning quite volatile. 3D printing is shifting manufacturing closer to the point of consumption. This will cut down the need to move components and/or finished product around the world. Jodi quoted a pwc study suggesting that 3D printing will result in 41% reduction in air traffic and 37% reduction in sea traffic. One advantage with 3D printing is that there will be more commodities and raw materials being shipped to the points of consumption and these commodities and raw materials cube better than finished products because of their shape. The discussion also included other trends contributing to increased volatility, such as the direct rail transportation from China to deep into Europe, and potential opening of the Arctic shipping way with the melting of polar ice.”

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Supply chain, logistics and inventory go 3D with additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing — popularly known as 3D printing — has been touted as the next big thing in manufacturing, but its impact will soon be seen in supply chain management.

Additive manufacturing — the creation of product parts or components from a digital 3D model — has gotten a lot of attention lately, and rightly so: It’s one of those ideas that’s simultaneously wildly innovative, and yet glaringly obvious.

Indeed, with the benefits of additive manufacturing causing a stir in manufacturing, and, therefore, in supply chain management, 2017 is looking to be a breakout year for the technology.

No longer a clever parlor trick for creating action figures and novelty items, additive manufacturing is poised to take on a serious role as a manufacturing alternative worldwide. In 2015, the additive manufacturing industry grew to $5.165 billion, representing a growth of nearly 30%, according to “Wohlers Report 2016.

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3D printing the next five years by Simon Fried of Nano Dimension

This is a guest post in our series looking at the future of 3D Printing. To celebrate 5 years of reporting on the 3D printing industry, we’ve invited industry leaders and 3D printing experts to give us their perspective on the next 5 years of 3D printing.

Simon Fried is the Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of Nano Dimension. With their innovative Dragonfly 2020 3D printer, Nano Dimension has introduced rapid prototyping of multi level, and multi-material, printed circuit boards on a desktop machine.

Industrialization of 3D Printing will be Hallmark of Next Half Decade
The next five years will be significant for 3D printing, in my opinion. Certainly, we’ll see growth in the consumer space as 3D printing options become increasingly affordable. But the more interesting trend is the growth in 3D printing for industry.

Industry adoption of additive manufacturing is clearly on the rise, with a broad range of businesses already dipping into the 3D waters. For instance, GE has acquired Arcam AB and SLM Solutions Group to help it gain competitiveness in the 3D manufacturing space; and Siemens, Ford and others are focusing on bringing 3D solutions into their factories.

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The implications of 3D printing on global logistics

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing has the potential to become the biggest single disruptive phenomenon to impact global industry since assembly lines were introduced to America in the early 20th Century. Any challenge to globalisation can be of huge disruption to the global transport industry yet the concept of 3D printing brings with it widespread opportunities for essential development in many fields worldwide.

The Implications of 3D Printing on Global LogisticsThe compelling logic surrounding 3D printing means products that once would be individually manufactured can be created via mass customization techniques, saving extensive amounts of time, wastage and cost. Products created in such a way will also be lighter but just as strong, if not stronger than being created by traditional methods.

3D printing essentially offers an enormous leap between one of cases of the manufacturing process and large scale manufacturing. Combining 3D printing with efficient manufacturing will revolutionize in response to changing customer demands and the entire nature of manufacturing is set to take on a dramatic change as 3D printing becomes more integrated across global society. As traditional models become overlooked the philosophy of manufacturing is also changing, with products being made specifically to suit precise customer desire.

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3D Printing is already starting to threaten the traditional spare parts supply chain

Making a step change in the management of spare parts is a significant benefit of 3D printing, promising to revolutionise logistics and supply chain networks.  Oliver Wyman sees this as already happening!


Freshly made 3D partsThe race is on to use 3D printing to produce small-series parts, on demand and on location, for industries from aerospace to automotive. At stake is the shape of a $400 billion market for spare parts manufacturing and logistics. And those changes are not 20, or even 10, years out — they are happening now.

Using models built through computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printing can produce virtually any solid object, even those with complex architectures, and in a range of materials, including plastic, ceramic, and metal. Currently, about half of 3D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — is used for prototyping. This saves manufacturers time and money, because they can develop new components or products on-demand, with less waste and without expensive tools and molds.

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