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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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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3D printing and Supply Chain: Convergence coming soon

3D printing and supply chain: Convergence coming soonThe promise of 3D printing has been in the background of manufacturing conversations for years. This technology’s potential to let companies create items on demand, with minimal factory equipment and an extreme degree of customization, has kept it relevant as the necessary hardware and software have improved. The fact that there hasn’t yet been a massive supply chain disruption due to 3D printing may be leading some companies to write it off. Leaders should keep their eyes open, however – further development could change the geography of manufacturing.

The use of 3D printing as a prototyping system, a behind-the-scenes option for product development, has kept it in the manufacturing ecosystem. Learning to produce finished goods with the same speed and ease currently used for in-development items could be the turning point for 3D printing’s impact and ubiquity.

Examining the marketplace
Current supply chain practices such as producing a high volume of goods in financially efficient factories and shipping them en masse may become less useful in the era of widespread 3D printing. The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply recently examined both the transformative potential of 3D printing and the reasons why the technology hasn’t yet had such an impact, despite being known and available for years.

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3D Printing ROI: Pharmaceutical company sees 95% part cost reduction, 70% weight reduction

In a new case study, global 3D printing leader Stratasys, which will soon introduce its new metal 3D printer, has explained how a top French pharmaceutical company was able to achieve a full return on investment (ROI) within just one year of purchasing and installing one of its production FDM 3D printers.

Bristol-Myers Squibb subsidiary UPSA determined that additive manufacturing would be a good way to attract new technicians, along with putting some life back into its in-house workshop. The company also realized that 3D printing would be able to help it find innovative solutions to production-line challenges, which were limiting the amount of machine parts it could make with traditional methods of manufacturing.

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The supply chain risks-rewards of 3D printing

Most everything that supply chain leaders and chief risk officers know about supply chain risk management today could soon become obsolete, thanks to rapid advances in 3D printing.

We’re already seeing signs of this in the construction industry: In March 2018, 3D printing construction company ICON, in partnership with non-profit group New Story, unveiled the first permitted, 3D-printed home in the United States in Texas with the commendable aim of creating affordable housing for all. Other 3D printing construction companies—like Apis Cor, Contour Crafting, and CyBe Construction—have developed similar technologies. And last year, Dubai-based Cazza Construction announced plans to build the world’s first 3D-printed skyscraper by 2020.

Although still in its infancy, 3D printing on a larger scale could drastically reduce the costs and risks intrinsically linked to globally complex supply chains. It’s not too soon for chief risk and compliance officers, as well as financial executives, across all industries to weigh the risks and rewards, like the following:

Affordable domestic production. By using 3D printing, companies can save both on labor costs, as well as the costs of transporting the materials. These cost savings alone greatly tip the scales toward the benefits of domestic, as opposed to overseas, production and cheaper labor abroad.

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Impact of 3D Printing technology on supply chain in China

H.K. Chan, J. Griffin, J.J. Lim, F. Zeng and A.S.F. Chiu from Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Law School at University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, and De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines  prepared a very insightful paper on the impact of 3D printing on supply chains, with a focus on the Chinese market, but with lessons that can be extrapolated to other countries. Well worth a read.


The 3D Printing (3DP) industry has been receiving increased public attention. Many companies are seeking ways to develop new means of creating and disseminating 3DP content, in order to capture new business opportunities. To date, however, the true business opportunities of 3DP have not been completely uncovered.
This research explores the challenges posed in the development and deployment of 3DP, and focuses on China which is still the main manufacturing hub in the world. By means of empirical semi-structured interviews with 3DP companies in China, the current application of 3DP technology in the industry and the associated challenges are investigated. Although many companies can see the benefits of 3DP, its potential has not been delivered as promised. Several areas have been identified that could be improved further. The interviews with 3DP companies are used to learn about the gap between the 3DP technology in depth, and 3DP industrial applications which can further improve the growth of the 3DP industry.

To read the paper, click here

3D printing’s present and future impact on the supply chain

Great to see others picking up the wider implications of 3D printing on businesses!

There was a time not too long ago that the latest 3D-printing achievement—a car, satellite antenna, or even a house—dominated news cycles. The hype bolstered awareness of the technology, but it didn’t truly demonstrate 3D printing’s full impact—namely, its business impact. Increasingly, the technology’s true potential is being realized by more companies as they integrate it into their manufacturing processes.

(Image Credit: Stratasys Direct Manufacturing)One particular benefit of the technology is how it is reshaping supply chains. 3D printing has yet to completely revolutionize the entire supply chain, as some predicted at the height of the technology’s hype cycle, but it nonetheless has dramatically impacted the supply chain.

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3D Printing offers a clear vision for time, cost savings

Worker with a 3D printer.The ability to reduce time-to-market is one of the key selling points driving 3D printing technology and applications. In the world of manufacturing, it’s rare that this can be realized by one individual part. However, it appears that eyeglass frames are an exception to that rule, and one of 3D printing’s core companies is looking to leverage that dynamic.

Using traditional methods, it can take frame designers up to 18 months to get their newest designs to the retail space. To this end, Stratasys has created a rapid prototyping solution that is unique to the eyeglass market. Dubbed the VeroFlex Rapid Prototyping Eyewear Solution, Stratasys is hoping to trim as much as 12 months off this design-to-retail timespan.

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The “Amazon Effect” on the supply chain

From HuffPost:


3D Printing: Seventy-one percent of U.S. manufacturers are currently using 3D printing in one way or another, according to a recent Manufacturing Institute study. Most use it to develop product prototypes, while 7 percent of companies use it to create end products. 3D Printing is a key differentiator for manufacturers that must quickly react to meet constantly shifting consumer demands.


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