Digital inventory

Point of view | 22 November 2020

By Aditya Gupta

Digital inventory describes the idea of storing parts on a data storage platform with every detail required to produce it in the future. The quality and usability of parts are guaranteed by AM experts, adding the required information alongside that part, i.e. part characteristics, part requirements, etc. That full package of verified part data can be sent directly to production by anyone within the organization.

Need for 3D inventory

The rise of  Additive Manufacturing market (source: Lux Research)

Digital inventory is the need of the era. With the uncertainties in the manufacturing world, companies around the world have been hard hit by the disruption in their supply chain. The need to shorten the supply chain and upgrade the old way of inventory management, companies have to find a way which is cost-efficient as well as keeps up with the fluctuating supply and demand chain. Digital inventory stands out as one of the most efficient ways to effectively manage supply and demand fluctuations and can help companies store parts and produce them whenever and wherever.

One factor which facilitates the need for digital inventory is the obsolescence of parts. Obsolescence makes it hard for companies to produce parts and severely defers their customer satisfaction and after-sales service. With the digital inventory, there is no need to hold up on one supplier. The part can be created on-demand whenever required.

Managing long tails parts or storing large inventory adds up the cost in storing and many parts are left unused. This severely impacts inventory management. On-demand production can be made possible by digital inventory and the latest developments in additive manufacturing. Store parts digitally and produce them as per the demand in the market.

Obtaining 3D file

If you are not sure how to get digital inventory, we are here to help. The digital inventory can be made either by scanning of physical parts or reverse engineering of the 2D drawing or the 3D model of the part.

Scanning of parts produces the 3D replica of the part in a computer software much like the 3D models we see in different CAD software. This replica is facilitated by the part characteristics and other requirements such as material, tolerances, mechanical properties, etc. Often the 3D replica is re-structured by AM experts to adjust the dimensions to aid the efficient printing process.

Reverse engineering created the same 3D replica with the help of professional engineers. These engineers re-create the part into a 3D model along with the information required to aid the printing process.

Before printing a part, there are several factors to keep in mind – processes used and the material characteristics. The printed part is produced along with tolerances to facilitate after machining processes.

Check out our scanning service at DigiPart™ SCAN

Understanding different file formats

STEP file (.stp format) is one of the most common file formats of a 3D drawing. After scanning parts or reverse engineering, a 3D replica is made in this format which is adopted by most of the top 3D software. Creating this file requires the intervention of AM experts as they add the necessary details such as required tolerances, material-specific data, etc to the file. This information is necessary for smooth printing and post-processing operations.

Professional engineers work on this file to create an STL file(.stl format) that can be read by the 3D printers to produce the parts.  

Storing 3D files

3D files can be stored in any data storage device or cloud. Our software – DigiPart™ has a bunch of features that not only stores your spare parts digitally on the cloud but also secures them for any vulnerabilities related to data transfer. With the stored spare parts on our software, you have the ability to print them anywhere and anytime.

DigiPart™ family contains products that can take your 3D printing journey from the conceptualization to getting 3D printed parts.

Our range of DigiPart™ products

3-step digitalization of spare parts inventory with our range of DigiPart™ solutions.