ASEAN, additive manufacturing, spare parts: What future?

News from the 3D printing industry | 18 July 2019

The industrial group Thyssenkrupp, better known for its activities in steel and elevators, reinforces its interest in Additive Manufacturing. On the occasion of the official launch of their AM TechCenter Hub in Singapore, the group published a white paper entitled “Additive manufacturing adding up growth opportunities for ASEAN”. This research was carried out with the help of actors such as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster of Singapore (NAMIC) and the global industrial 3D printing leader EOS GmbH. These authors explained that they wanted to fill the “lack of data [which] leaves policy makers and business leaders without any guidance to best prepare for the future” in ASEAN.

Small penetration, high expectations: Here are with few words the conclusions of this rapport. Indeed, while Asia estimated to represent approximately 30% of the global AM market, ASEAN still represent only 5 to 7% of the asian market in 2019. However, ASEAN has important advantages to take a leading position in the AM revolution: with 20% of ASEAN GDP and 50 million workers in manufacturing, the region is at a crossroads as AM and the broader 4th Industrial Revolution drives fundamental changes to the region’s manufacturing competitiveness and its ecosystem.

The forecasts in the report published by Thyssenkrupp are optimistic and plan US$100 billion economic value in ASEAN generate by AM by 2025 and 3 to 4 million additional jobs by 2030. 

In addition to these forecasts, the Thyssenkrupp report is aimed directly at business leaders in the region who would like to adopt AM. This report provides a real road map for increasing the penetration of 3D printing in the ASEAN manufacturing market by identifying risks and opportunities. Thus, the spare parts market is very likely to integrate AM quickly and profitably. According to a survey cited in the document, within five years, more than 85% of spare parts suppliers will incorporate 3D printing into their business.

Spare parts are expected to become the biggest use case for AM in next 5 years

The challenges imposed on companies by spare parts management are well known: irregular low demand, long tail products, short customer lead time requirements and high service expectations. But what is most limiting the Additive Manufacturing adoption is the lack of “technical know-how/feasibility”. Read this as “I have 100,000 parts in my inventory, I assume AM can drastically reduce my inventory but I don’t know which parts I should focus on, neither with AM technology or material will suit my numerous applications.”

However, the players capable of driving this transformation already exist: Thyssenkrupp lists printers, research centres, industrial companies, marketplaces and other startups that form the global ecosystem of the AM industry. Mentioned on this occasion, Spare Parts 3D is considered as a frontrunner in this transformation.

“We are very excited to see the fast growing consciousness of the potential impact of AM on spare parts. After running POC’s on the technology and producing a few parts, more and more companies are now looking at systematizing an implementation approach of the AM technologies onto spares. We believe that’s where Spare Parts 3D can really help: in accelerating the inventory digitization.”

Paul Guillaumot, Spare Parts 3D’s CEO