Infinite Lifetime: How 3D Printing will make obsolescence disappear?
Technical Focus | 2 March 2018
The revolution of 3D printing is on, and in a few years from now, obsolescence will have become obsolete!
Manufacturers manage physical warehouse with a limited inventory of spare parts and painful way of reproducing them. Once their first mount products are not sold anymore, except for consumable parts with sufficient predictable demand, companies stop their production line after sourcing a “Last buy order” meant to fulfil for 5 years of demand in average.
But once the production is stopped, shortage may happen. In this case manufacturers are very likely unable to supply another batch of parts. It may happen for multiple reasons: a lost design, a broken production tool, a bankrupted supplier or simply an order that did not match the minimum order quantity (MOQ). When reaching this stage, the product turns obsolete.
Additive manufacturing is the solution answering this lifetime issue, by implementing an agile, continuous production. What does it change?
Nullify the cost of your sleeping inventory
Additive manufacturing passes by the digitalization of the targeted spare parts portfolio. Every single spare part needed to be produced is modelized by experts in order to build up a digital inventory. Once it is done, warehousing become free of money and space! Currently, 89% of manufacturing companies recognize they keep obsolete parts in their stock, and 22% have more than 10% of obsolete ones. By experience, there is up to 30% of inventory depreciation per year in home appliance industry! But now, the design and the way of fabricating the parts are digital and can be reused infinitely.
So, how could one manufacturer lose money on sleeping inventory any longer?
Source your obsolete parts in a click
“But how long does it take to get it?” you may ask, and you are right: If the lifetime is infinite, the spare part must be available shortly, if not immediately. With additive manufacturing it actually is! 47% of spare parts buyers have been looking into using 3D printing in order to adopt a make-to-order policy and to create their own parts.
Why? Because additive manufacturing offers the possibility to print any parts in a short lead time, as long as the design is already into the catalogue. No need to retrieve the old mould, find the right manufacturing facility, make the parts and have it travelling around the world to reach its point of use. Just print On-demand, get your part wherever you need in a matter of hours or at most days.
Repair your machine infinitely
You are a customer and you need an old spare part for your beloved machinery purchased 15 years ago? With their digital catalogue, your equipment suppliers are able to retrieve the required information to produce your part (technology, material, machine, specifications, production instructions, etc.) and fix your machine, no matter the model age. Thanks to additive manufacturing, obsolescence does not exist any longer and you can extend the lifetime of your machinery as much as you want.
Obsolescence is an old topic, isn’t it now the time for a qualitative and long-term client service?