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In order to support after-sales maintenance and repair, most large manufacturers keep spare parts for a long time after the production of spare parts has been discontinued, and common after-sales services often come at the cost of high inventory costs. Not only do the materials in the warehouse need to be stored in the warehouse with labor costs and maintenance costs, but some parts remain in the warehouse for a long time and are eventually scrapped. Furthermore, when parts can no longer be supplied via on-site mass production, production costs increase significantly.
Manufacturers typically centralize warehouses in factories or distribution centers. Shipping parts from distribution centers to end consumers can take weeks. Storing inventory in regional warehouses to shorten delivery times is one solution, but it means higher labor and maintenance costs.
3D printing has the potential to be a solution to minimize inventory costs and lead times.
As the technology matures, taking advantage of 3D printing is being considered a way to reduce inventory and increase efficiency. Parts can be produced on demand through a 3D printing service provider platform. This strategy means zero inventory and fast shipping.
To test feasibility, technical and economic evaluations are carried out. The study consists of five steps.
Catalog selection: to maximize cost savings without additional investment. The two keys are
- 3D printability – certain kinds of spare parts are only achievable with 3D printability.
- Profit margin
Industrialization: In order to optimize economic efficiency, Spare Parts 3D will carry out integrated engineering to determine the best materials and the most efficient production parameters.
Digital Contains a digital inventory of the best production parameters for each selected reference.
Qualification: Quality inspection and inspection of the final version.
Profitability analysis: cost comparison of 3D printed spare parts and production by traditional means.
3D printing technology is considered to be a powerful complement to traditional manufacturing techniques. Spare parts management is bound to be subject to the proliferation of 3D printing. By producing and delivering standard spare parts as needed, manufacturers can eliminate inventory footprints and reduce shipping to the last mile.
The future of spare parts will be 3D printing, and within five years, more than 85% of spare parts suppliers will be integrated into the 3D printing business, as 3D printing will enable suppliers to increase the availability of spare parts, reduce lead times, and reduce costs.