The term “additive manufacturing” refers to the concept of creating parts by layering a material powder, such as polypropylene, and then solidifying the powder with a laser according to the CAD file instructions. This process is completed inside a 3D printing machine, and then the product is removed and post-processed for use.
Because of the high need for spare parts in any industry, production of them is a vital aspect of the supply chain. This need is fulfilled by additive manufacturing in an effective way. Without a constant and reliable supply of replacement parts, many industries would fail and become inoperable, proving the importance of spare parts to the supply chain.
On-demand additive manufacturing of spare parts can streamline the supply chain and provide numerous benefits, including the reliability of production, cost and time effectiveness, and savings on storage space.
TRADITIONAL SUPPLY CHAIN VS ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
In many instances, waiting for a spare part to arrive through a typical supply chain channel can take far too long for many businesses. Especially during times of disaster, such as a worldwide pandemic, your orders could be placed on hold for months or even a year. If you or your company needs their spare parts in a timely and reliable manner, additive manufacturing may be the way for you to go.
Producing your spare parts with additive manufacturing methods lowers your inventory and storage costs by removing the need for storing a load of parts that you may need in the future. Instead, with additive manufacturing, you can order the parts you need on-demand and right when you need them, rather than before, saving money and time.
As stated previously, situations in the world may be responsible for slowing the traditional supply chain, thus costing time and money that many companies cannot afford to lose. With spare parts supplied through additive manufacturing, companies or individuals can often expect to receive their orders within 1-2 weeks, and at a much more reasonable rate.
ADVANTAGES OF ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING SPARE PARTS
Because of the speed of manufacturing with 3D printing, normal lead times with the typical supply chain are drastically reduced. Parts can be ordered and produced in less than half the time it takes with more traditional methods like injection molding. Additionally, additively manufactured parts can be easily customized and adjusted to fit specific needs, often making them the best choice for many companies.
Not only are additively manufactured parts produced and delivered faster than many other options, but they are also a way for companies to cut down on overhead costs by eliminating the need for inventory storage of surplus parts. If the parts a business is looking for are readily available from a 3D manufacturer, they will not need to purchase a storage facility or worry about keeping the parts secure. On-demand manufacturing technologies can cut down costs and save money in many different situations.
Another advantage of additive manufacturing spare parts is the ability to create parts that are obsolete or otherwise out of production. Many custom projects require parts that are no longer offered by the original manufacturer, which can be a problem if the part is not available from a second-hand seller or another avenue. However, with 3D printing, anyone can design and order the exact piece they need and likely receive it within a few weeks.
Lastly, additive manufacturing spare parts are advantageous for companies because of the increased flexibility and responsiveness to changing needs that 3D printing capabilities offer. Not only are they useful to industrial companies and professional businesses, but they are also applicable to individuals or small groups. 3D printing can be utilized by anyone!
CASE STUDIES FROM TODAY
Today, on-demand additive manufacturing of spare parts is already in use. Many aerospace companies, like GE Aviation and Boeing, are developing planes with 3D manufactured parts. Some planes, like the Boeing 777X, contain fuel nozzles and other small pieces produced with additive manufacturing. This field continues to grow and is moving to the national defense sector as the U.S. Air Force works to create a lighter and stronger fighter jet with 3D printed parts. As these planes are produced and developed over the next few years, obtaining spare parts with additive manufacturing methods will be easier.
Additive manufacturing is finding applications in the medical fields too. Rather than store a surplus of pieces for medical braces or corrective instruments, medical supply companies can simply order a 3D printed brace that will be fitted perfectly to the patient’s needs. The cost of replacing or remaking a medical device such as this will be lowered by producing spare parts with additive manufacturing.
In the automotive industry, spare parts are always in high demand. Whether it is for a custom project to repair a 1965 Mustang or a prototype for a cutting-edge hypercar, unique parts are constantly needed by mechanics and car enthusiasts all around. 3D printing such parts ensure they will be printed and produced exactly as the designer requires.
Finally, industrial machinery is always in need of repairs or upgrades. However, many parts are difficult to acquire due to obsolescence or supply chain issues. In some cases, the original machine manufacturer may have even gone out of business, leaving the individual needing a
part with very few options. Fortunately, additively manufacturing the required parts can be a simple task with the help of a CAD file designer and a reliable 3D printing company like JawsTec.
The future applications of 3D printing could range from producing airplane parts to printing entire airplanes. Medical devices such as prostheses could be designed to be more readily available to those in need. Car parts could become more standardized or lightweight, saving money and time for consumers. Industrial machinery parts may be even easier to acquire. The ways that additive manufacturing could benefit the world are still being developed and discovered.
Currently, we do know that producing 3D printed spare parts for use in many industries is highly effective and advantageous for companies as well as individuals. With a company like JawsTec to print your spare parts, you can be assured of high-quality and reliable production. Get your instant quote today!