Can AM play a part in tomorrow’s sustainable energy mix and will it be worth it?
Establishing additive manufacturing as a truly sustainable production method inevitably entails powering tomorrow’s 3D printers. Small polymer systems require minimal power, but farms of thousands of machines, larger PBF systems and especially metal systems do and will require massive amounts of energy to function. 3D printing can facilitate distributed manufacturing, which means that products will be less reliable on transportation, so the main challenge in making AM more sustainable is by powering 3D printers using clean energy.
The world depends upon disruptive technology, including big data analytics, IoT, cloud computing, etc. These technologies have a great impact all around, and the future of the supply chain depends upon such advanced technology.
Similarly, an advanced technology, i.e. 3D printing, is shaping the supply chain. According to reports, the use of 3D printers is gradually increasing.
Getting spare parts where they need to go in a quick, reliable way is a logistical challenge for military and industrial supply chains. Researchers from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and North Carolina State University have developed a computational model to help determine how best to incorporate additive manufacturing (AM) technologies into these spare parts supply chains.
AM technologies, or “3D printers,” hold tremendous potential for alleviating some of the logistical challenges associated with providing spare parts when and where they are needed. However, AM technologies can be expensive and tricky to transport. They also require personnel who have specialized training. What’s more, spare parts supply chains can be particularly complicated, because there is usually intermittent demand – meaning you likely don’t know when you’ll need to provide a particular part or how many parts might be needed at any point in time.
round 83% of oil and gas companies are considering adopting 3D printing or on-demand manufacturing to meet their spare part production needs, according to an industry report.
Published by digital manufacturing provider Protolabs, the ‘Decision Time’ survey has revealed how firms in the oil services sector intend to adapt to sustainability challenges, by engaging in Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS). In doing so, the report says that the industry aims to cut its costs, reduce its CO2 emissions and adapt to the “green energy transition.”
“The sector’s appetite to secure a long-term future means that companies are branching out into other industries and extending their capabilities,” explains Bjoern Klaas, VP and MD of Protolabs Europe. “With the energy transition revolutionizing the sector, combined with a much lower profit environment, it is imperative that companies continue to innovate and embrace renewable markets.”