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 expectation

The report suggests that while Asia was estimated to represent approximately 30% of the global AM market, ASEAN actually only accounted for 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 the manufacturing sector, 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 were optimistic and estimated that AM would generate US$100 billion worth of economic value in ASEAN by 2025 and 3 to 4 million additional jobs by 2030. 

In addition to these forecasts, the Thyssenkrupp report focuses 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 businesses.

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

Spare parts management involves dealing with some well-known challenges, such as irregular low demand, long tail products, short customer lead time requirements, and high service expectations. However, the challenge that inhibits the adoption of Additive Manufacturing the most is the lack of “technical know-how/feasibility”. In other words, manufacturers might say,  “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 am I familiar with AM technology or materials that will suit my numerous applications.”

However, the players capable of driving this transformation already exist. Thyssenkrupp has listed printers, research centers, industrial companies, marketplaces and other startups that form the global ecosystem of the AM industry. Mentioned in this occasion, Spare Parts 3D is considered a front runner 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