When trying to determine whether a particular part can be cost-effectively manufactured by AM, it is critical to analyze the entire supply chain. Initially, the supply chain should be examined from a qualitative standpoint. Courtesy of Senvol, below are the seven supply chain scenarios that tend to lend themselves well to AM. If a part falls into one or more of these scenarios, it may be cost-effective to produce via AM and is a candidate for further evaluation. If a part does not fall into any of these scenarios, the part almost certainly will not be cost-effective for AM, given the current state of AM technology.
Expensive to Manufacture
Do you have parts that are high cost because they have complex geometries, high fixed costs) e.g. tooling), or are produced in low volumes? AM may be more cost-efficient.
Long lead times
Does it take too long to obtain certain parts? Are your downtime costs extremely high? Do you want to increase speed-to-market? Through AM, you can often get parts more quickly.
High inventory costs
Do you overstock or understock? Do you struggle with long-tail or obsolete parts? AM can allow for on-demand production, thus reducing the need for inventory.
Sole-sourced from suppliers
Are any of your critical parts sole-sourced? This poses a supply chain risk. By qualifying a part for AM, you will no longer be completely reliant on your current supplier.
Do you operate in remote locations where it is difficult, time consuming or expensive to ship parts to? AM may allow you to manufacture certain parts on-site.
High import/export costs
Do you pay substantial import/export costs on parts simply because of the location of your business unit and/or your supplier? On-site production via AM can eliminate these costs.
AM can enable a part to be redesigned such that its performance is improved beyond what was previously possible.
Courtesy of Senvol, LLC