JIT vs. AM: Is Additive Production the Remedy to Fragile Provide Chains?

As interesting and irritating because it used to be to look at the new Suez canal debacle, we did so understanding that the fallout from it and the research of its have an effect on could be way more fascinating. Which is why this piece on the potential for additive production to mitigate provide chain dangers stuck our eye.

We need to admit {that a} first look on the article, by means of [Davide Sher], tripped our nonsense detector lovely onerous. In the end, the piece seemed in 3-D Printing Media Community, a business e-newsletter that has a vested pastime in boosting the additive production (AM) trade. We had been additionally lovely satisfied getting into that, whilst 3-D-printing is leading edge and strong, even the use of commercial printers it wouldn’t be capable of scale up sufficient for print portions within the volumes wanted for contemporary client merchandise. How lengthy would it not take for even a manufacturing facility filled with 3-D-printers to fill a container with portions that may be injection molded of their tens of millions in China?

However as we learn on, numerous what [Davide] says is smart. A container filled with portions that doesn’t arrive precisely once they’re wanted would possibly as neatly by no means had been made, whilst portions which can be both made at the manufacturing facility flooring the use of AM strategies, or produced in the community the use of a freelance AM supplier, may well be value their weight in gold. And he aptly issues out the diversities between this imaginative and prescient of on-demand production and nowadays’s default of just-in-time production, which is very depending on provide strains that we now know can also be extraordinarily fragile.

So, colour us satisfied, or a minimum of persuaded. It’s going to indubitably be some time ahead of the entire financial fallout of the Suez blockage settles, and it’ll more than likely longer ahead of we in reality see adjustments intended to handle the issues it printed. However we’d be stunned if this isn’t observed as a possibility to retool some processes that experience grow to be so optimized {that a} gust of wind may take them down.