With all the talk about how additive manufacturing is set to revolutionize the way products are made, what’s not heard about as much is the potential additive manufacturing—also called 3D printing—has to turn the supply chain on its ear and cut logistics costs for manufacturers small and large.
The myriad changes additive manufacturing is set to bring about to the supply chain can be summarized using the same words often used to describe the technique itself and what it means for manufacturers and users: words like accessible, customized, and consolidated.
Many researchers who follow the additive manufacturing industry, for example, say one benefit of the technology lies in the need for fewer components within a single product. The part consolidation will lead to a reduction in SKUs and inventory and could potentially reduce a company’s base of suppliers.
Product simplification will also reduce logistics labor, required tooling, machining centers, and work-in-process inventory.
With the rise of additive manufacturing, it won’t be too long before consumers will take a page from today’s food and restaurant culture: the move toward local. With consumers more ecologically aware than ever, they’ll naturally want to know how far their products have traveled to reach them.
The answer will be: not far.
Manufacturers will be able to work with their supply chain partners to create a network of 3D printers, each of which will act, in essence, as a small micro factory with operations coordinated via technology. That type of approach knocks out the distances products travel within the supply chain. In the future manufacturers will find it’s no longer financially feasible or efficient to send products across the globe to get to customers when manufacturing can take place almost anywhere at the same cost.
Not only that, but those small, distributed additive manufacturing centers will have less need for just in time inventory and for other paths to inventory reduction. They’ll simply be able to print up more products—or parts—when needed. That alone will be a huge change from today’s supply chain, a big part of which is powered by JIT.
Supply chains will also become more local, because 3D printing holds the potential to tailor individual products to a set of customers needs. If buyers in a certain area seek specific products–perhaps due to recent weather in the area—manufacturers can produce them near the customers who want them.
They can also, and this is key, produce them only when needed. Late stage postponement makes the supply chain more agile as it can react to moment-by-moment changes in the marketplace.
In the same way, additive manufacturing can also step up during production disruptions, say due to weather. Should a hurricane keep supplies from making it to a particular factory, 3-D printed parts may have a role to play. Because the parts could be configured quickly, require no tooling, and could be produced in small batches, the method works well in the situation.
And here’s another way to look at local. As additive manufacturing extends its reach into remote markets, places today’s product supply chain doesn’t reach, the method will spread products and goods more equitably throughout the world. It will also be able to supply manufacturers in those areas access to parts and (3D printed) tools when and where they need them.
In tandem with that comes a rise in employment in those regions. More manufacturing means more jobs across all areas of the globe.
But why stop there? Not only does additive manufacturing have the potential to change today’s supply chain, it may also lead to the creation of new supply chain concepts, such as small maker businesses that deliver directly through express services like FedEx.
Whatever the future supply chain will look like as compared to today’s, one thing is clear, additive manufacturing will have had a hand in bringing about some valuable changes.
The post How Additive Manufacturing Could Change the Supply Chain in the Near Future appeared first on Stratasys Blog.
3D printing has had a huge impact on all kinds of objects… even action figures. Big brands like DC Comics have even signed deals with 3D printing companies to print some of their figurines. But since 3D printing is all about customization it is also the perfect technology to create your own action figure. Here’s how it’s done!
There are several ways you can create your own action figure or fantasy character. It could be something of your own invention or it could even be yourself – with the help of 3D scanning. In this blog post we will give a broad overview about the different ways you can get your own 3D-printed miniature figurine, whether you decide to sculpt it yourself, start with a file from the web, or need a 3D scan of yourself.
Start from scratch: If you want to create your own action figurine or fantasy miniature from scratch you probably need to look into digital sculpting. CAD software that is intended for creating 3D models of mechanical parts or architectural models won’t help you a lot – the result will simply be too edgy and non-organic. Luckily there is specialized digital sculpting software out there – and there are quite a few decent programs that come for free.
Starting from a file: Using the software packages above does not always mean that you need to start from scratch! Of course you can also import 3D files from the web or 3D scans.
3D printing your design: It doesn’t matter if you start from scratch, a scan, or a file; two more things are essential for a successful 3D print – a well-prepared file and a basic understanding of the intended 3D printing material.
Putting Your Creativity And Personal Touch Into Making Unique Bookmarks
Whether you’re voraciously reading New York Times Bestsellers, keeping tabs on the latest business trends or perusing the pages of the classics, there’s one thing every bibliophile needs: A bookmark that’s just as amazing as the books being read.
Sure, you could use a receipt from today’s lunch, an envelope from the bill you just opened or even a magazine renewal postcard to mark the pages.
Note: The following was authored by Doug Rhoda, CEO of DMS (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Rhoda was directly responsible for hiring more than 200 interns while CEO of Wolf Robotics (Fort Collins, Colorado). Today, an estimated 75% of Wolf’s permanent employees came from internships.
In my personal leadership and management journey, people that make up a team are the distinguishing factor of any business. My former mentor, now deceased, would coach me as I was growing a struggling robotic welding company, and he would say “It’s all about the people.”
Getting the right people “on the bus” is one of the most important tasks of a leader. Although not quick or expedient, I have found that building long-term mutual beneficial relationships with local universities and developing internship programs have been critical to getting the best people.
In spite of some of the headlines today, I have found reason for optimism with today’s young people. I have had the privilege of hiring and coaching so many millennials that are bright, hard-working, and capable. Like anyone, they are looking for autonomy (not to be micro-managed), mastery (to learn), and purpose in their work.
Our recipe, refined over the years, challenges young people. Our student interns start on the factory floor, getting their hands dirty, and learning our machines from the ground up. While they are in the factory, they are being evaluated by senior factory floor leaders to determine whether the individual has the right work ethic, attitude, and ability to learn.
An internship is like an extended interview. It’s an interview of the student by our staff, and it’s an interview of the company by the student. During the internship, the intern can determine whether the company and industry are of interest for long-term employment.
If the person is right and the economics justify it, we will hire graduating interns into full-time positions. In the case of engineering students, they are hired into a field service role, where they learn how the machines are applied and what customers value. We have found that after their customer service stint, the former interns discern where their passion and interests lie, and self-select—with our involvement—key roles in the business. Among them are design engineering, project management, and software development. Because of their strong foundation in the business, they contribute in unique and precious ways.
Talent recruited and developed through internships have been critical success factors in the businesses in which I have had the honor of being responsible. We will continue to invest in our internship programs to grow our business because it’s all about the people.
Our Stereo Summer continuous with another great deal! During this summer, we will talk about new discounts, enhancements, and surprises in the world of Stereolithography. This week is all about our Transparent Resin.
You can now save 10% on all Transparent Resin 3D prints for two weeks! From today until August 30th, we will be offering a 10% discount on 3D printed Transparent Resin parts with the promo code ‘TRANSPARENT10’. Simply use this discount code during your checkout process.
This 10% discount is…
To benefit from our 10% discount, upload your 3D model now and start saving with the code ‘TRANSPARENT10’
Models made out of transparent resin are constructed from a hardened liquid. The material is strong, hard, stiff, water resistant by nature, and of course, transparent. Our transparent resin is suited for models needing a good, smooth, quality surface with a transparent look. Therefore, it’s ideal for demo models, accurate models, and models with limited functionality. Freedom of design is limited because of the structure necessary to support your models during printing.
Stereolithography, the technology behind most resin 3D prints, is often referred to as ‘the mother of all 3D printing technologies’ and is considered one of the most widely used techniques for producing high-quality 3D prints. Stereolithography printers work with razor-thin layers of liquid polymer that are cured by a computer-controlled UV laser which transforms the resin from a liquid to a solid state. You can learn more about this technology and see a video of a printer in action here.
Stay tuned for more Stereolithography announcements throughout this summer! We will announce new deals and enhancements over the coming weeks.
Being one of the lightest, most durable materials on the market, the new FDM Nylon12 Carbon Fiber material is rapidly becoming a must-have solution for companies who want to construct better performing prototypes, tools and end-use parts. Containing 35 percent chopped carbon-fiber by weight, and an ultimate tensile strength on the xz axis of nearly 11,000 psi (76Mpa), FDM Nylon 12CF offers the best stiffness-to-weight ratio among Stratasys FDM thermoplastics, meeting the advanced functional testing demands of automotive, aerospace, recreational goods, and industrial manufacturing sectors.
The very high strength-to-weight ratio makes this material ideal for design engineers that need to rapidly produce strong, light-weight and rigid components for functional prototyping, reducing prototyping lead-times and costs and helping get new products to market faster.
Eviation is a great example of how cutting-edge companies can use this material in high performance prototyping situations. We offered Omer Bar-Yohay, the CEO of Eviation, the opportunity to experience parts printed using Nylon12 Carbon Fiber to see how he thinks this material could be used within his innovative aerospace company. Here’s his initial reaction upon handling the material part for the first time:
For more information on Nylon12 Carbon Fiber, click here.
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