Spare Parts 3D’s unique Business Model

Technical Focus | 22 January 2019

Today the Additive Manufacturing industry is structured in two groups: the Machines Producers and the Service Providers. Comparing the business of 3D Systems, Stratasys, and HP with that of Spare Parts 3D is like comparing oranges and apples. We simply do not do the same job! We definitely are not machine producers and rather belong to the service providers category but with a few peculiarities.

Specialization in Spare Parts

Let us think from the perspectives of a spare parts manager. The objective is to ensure the availability of top-notch spare parts and reducing the cost of inventory. Producing spares on-demand and locally using 3D printing is like a dream. But there are several challenges to this:

A – Let’s say there are 100,000 different parts to manage. The top 5% high sales volumes are known, but pretty much nothing of the 95% remaining. The first question that arises is which of them can be printed? Unfortunately, that’s not an easy answer. Collection and cross-analysis of demand, supply, cost, engineering and quality data are needed to get the answer. And this needs to be done ONE BY ONE on 100 000 parts!

Well, Spare Parts 3D can do that automatically. Isn’t it great? Read more here: https://spare-parts-3d.com/digipart-spare-parts-3d/

B – After acquiring a list of Dos & Don’ts, the efforts can be prioritized. Next problem is that every time a part is needed, the maximum required quantity is 100 pieces. We then realize that it takes 2 weeks to find the right solution and get the first piece done, plus another 1 month to test the part (if the quality department is not too overwhelmed). All of this would cost more than savings. Also, there’s a need to wait for more than 2 months to actually get the parts qualified and send to the customers.

Well again, Spare Parts 3D is there to expedite this process and here we get down to the actual “specialness” of our business model. We have done all the R&D work to have solutions (solution being a triptych technology, material, process) pre-qualified for ranges of applications.

Let’s take an example to make it clearer: Whirlpool needs a basket wheel for a dishwasher. We have a pre-qualified solution for this. An oven knob? or a containership boiler bracket that needs to withstand the corrosion of heavy fuel fumes? Go that as well! And the list goes on.

When it comes to home appliances, we have already over 500 parts categories pre-qualified and we are continuously working to increase the span of parts we can produce – in quality. There are many other types of parts to be produced for several markets in need such as Maritime, Energy, Transportation and Industrial Machinery.

Non Ownership of Production Assets.

We produce through a network of manufacturing partners. This enables us to produce in a considerable number of locations which is an absolute necessity to address the spare parts demand. This reduces the dependence on international expensive logistics and unreliable customs processes. For example, the spare parts are demanded in Columbia. It’s better and quicker to produce and deliver locally than get them from say China!

Additional benefits of this model: having access to a large span of technologies (including metal) and greater flexibility to integrate the latest technologies in our services and finally avoid important CAPEX investments.

Our production network hasn’t been built randomly but is based on specific machines and raw materials we ourselves have qualified. It is the basis of the solutions we propose to our customers.

Conclusion:

In a nutshell, we are a solution-provider, supporting manufacturers end-to-end from parts identification all the way to engineering and production, with specific processes, methods & tools designed to address the high-mix, low-volume complexity inherent to the spare parts business.