Production of spare parts using AM is an emerging area, particularly for Defense

According to an article written by the University of the Bundeswehr Munich and published in the Talyor & Francis Group, the production of spare parts using Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an emerging area that impacts the supply chain management.

To give designers a way to proceed at the moment of redesign and produce a spare part using AM, this contribution presents a methodology for the design and manufacturing of digital spare parts using AM in decentralized facilities. The re-design of the spare parts is tackled by giving design considerations based on agile hardware development practices to improve the quality of the spare parts and reduce the lead time. Since this methodology is derived from different case studies of the military over two years, the approach is suited for the defence industry but can be adapted to other industries that operate reduced facilities abroad.

Additionally, three different use cases following the methodology are presented. The weaknesses of the processes are highlighted and some recommendations for production engineers and designers are given.

During the lifetime of industrial equipment, many of their components have to be replaced in order to keep the asset in service. Therefore, these replacement parts or spare parts have to be supplied to the customer to perform the maintenance or repair operations needed. In addition, it is common that the spare part manufacturer or the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is established in a location far away from the end-user. As a consequence, to fulfil the customer needs, the Supply Chain (SC) could become very complex and reach several layers.

In warehouses, more than the half of the ordered spares are one-time requests and additionally, they are needed in non-discrete time intervals, which makes it difficult to predict. This is the reason why many inventories hold a massive number of spare parts, even for many years, since in some industries, customers keep the equipment in service for 2 or 3 decades at least.

This subjet, desigen, re-design and reverse engineering is a topic of the AM for Defense Conference.


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