Harnessing Additive Manufacturing: Invest More to Tackle Supply Chain Challenges

Published on : 5 October, 2023

Supply chain disruptions have become a significant and ongoing issue in today's interconnected world, impacting both businesses and consumers. These disruptions have had lasting effects on various industries and the people they serve, including delays in product deliveries, difficulties in sourcing specific items, and changes in product quality.

At Markforged, they firmly believe in the untapped potential of additive manufacturing and its role in helping to improve supply chains by producing items when and where they are needed.

While Markforged has noticed an uptick in manufacturers using their technology, they were curious about the general public's views on supply chain status and the potential of 3D printing. To gain insights, they partnered with Dynata to conduct a comprehensive survey of 1,000 adult participants in the United States. The results of the study make a compelling case for increased investment in 3D printing technology to address the pressing supply chain challenges that businesses face today. Here are some key findings from the study:

The Markforged AdvantageNavigating the Manufacturing Maze: Addressing Supply Chain Disruptions

Manufacturers are facing significant challenges when it comes to dealing with supply chain disruptions, which pose substantial threats to their operations. The global shortages and difficulties in obtaining essential components have led to prolonged production interruptions and missed deadlines. These consequences have far-reaching effects, including missed business opportunities, hindered growth, and potential damage to their reputation. The traditional supply chain model is inherently vulnerable to disruptions, resulting in longer lead times, uncertain schedules, and reduced product quality upon delivery.

Markforged study provided valuable insights into how respondents perceive and experience these supply chain constraints, as well as the potential of additive manufacturing, particularly 3D printing, in addressing these issues. More than half of the respondents have personally experienced frustrating delays in product deliveries, highlighting the negative impact of supply chain disruptions on customer satisfaction.

Consumers are increasingly feeling the repercussions of disrupted supply chains as they continue to disrupt production. 53% of the respondents reported difficulties in finding specific items in stores or online due to supply chain challenges. These findings underscore the widespread nature of supply chain issues, affecting both product availability and timely delivery.

The Untapped Potential of Additive Manufacturing

The survey results show that more people are becoming aware of how 3D printing can help address supply chain issues. Nearly a third of the respondents already know about the benefits and capabilities of 3D printing in dealing with disruptions. This growing awareness indicates that more people understand the significant advantages 3D printing can offer to supply chains.

When supply chain disruptions happen and there is a shortage of tools and components needed for manufacturing, it can lead to factory shutdowns, even if just one part is missing. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), serves as a kind of insurance policy against these kinds of disruptions. It provides solutions that reduce the reliance on external suppliers. If a manufacturing component breaks or goes missing, 3D printing can quickly produce a replacement within a couple of days, ensuring that industrial operations continue without significant interruptions. Additionally, digital designs of parts can be stored and sent to on-site 3D printers, allowing them to be produced right where they're needed without the extra wait time or shipping costs associated with traditional manufacturing. This is a big contrast to the traditional manufacturing process, which involves creating tools, long lead times, and expensive production for low-volume products.

3D printing technology has also been used for creating end-use components and improving production processes in industries like aerospace and healthcare, which have strict regulations. This integration of 3D printing leads to cost savings and reduces dependence on increasingly unstable global supply networks. Impressively, 43% of respondents see 3D printing as a long-term solution to supply chain challenges, recognizing its potential to revolutionize the field.

In light of these findings, it's important to note that a substantial majority of respondents, 68% to be precise, understand the crucial role of onshoring in addressing supply chain issues. This consensus highlights the significance of exploring alternative strategies that bring production closer to where it's needed, and 3D printing plays a key role in this. The strong support for onshoring from nearly seven out of ten US consumers underscores the importance of using diverse methods to reduce the strain on supply networks. By harnessing the revolutionary potential of 3D printing and embracing onshoring solutions, we can establish more robust and efficient supply chains, allowing us to confidently tackle challenges as they arise.

Embracing the Power of Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, presents a transformative solution to the challenges faced by supply chains. The findings from the study underscore the need for increased investment in 3D printing technology to enhance supply chain resilience and effectively address disruptions. To tackle these issues, we urge industry leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to prioritize investments in 3D printing technologies. By allocating resources, promoting adoption, and harnessing the advantages of additive manufacturing, we can establish robust and efficient manufacturing ecosystems.

To enhance our manufacturing capabilities and minimize disruptions in the supply chain, we need to focus on bringing production closer to home, reducing reliance on external suppliers, and employing diversified approaches. By promoting the adoption of 3D printing, breaking down barriers, and capitalizing on its benefits, manufacturers can better navigate supply chain challenges. As awareness and investments in 3D printing increase, and as governments and businesses prioritize supply network upgrades, we anticipate a future of resilient and efficient global manufacturing. We should take advantage of additive manufacturing to fortify our supply chains and prepare for a more secure and prosperous future.

In a world that occasionally grapples with supply chain challenges, additive manufacturing offers a glimmer of hope. By raising awareness, committing to onshoring, and understanding the capabilities of 3D printing, we can usher in a new era of robust and efficient supply chains, revolutionizing how we navigate these obstacles.

As the discussion around supply chain challenges and the transformative potential of additive manufacturing gains momentum, it's worth noting the contributions of companies like Chemtron Pte Ltd in advancing these solutions. Chemtron is a leading provider of advanced materials, 3D printers, and 3D printing solutions in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore.

In conclusion, as we support increased investment in 3D printing technology to bolster supply chain resilience, companies like Chemtron Pte Ltd play a pivotal role in providing advanced 3D Printing Solutions for the success of additive manufacturing. Our commitment to innovation, quality, and sustainability contributes to a more robust and efficient supply chain ecosystem. Together with companies like Markforged, we exemplify the collaborative effort needed to overcome supply chain disruptions and create a more secure and prosperous future.

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