Electrolux, a leading home appliance manufacturing across the world, has begun to explore the possibility of adopting 3D printing technology to produce spare parts on-demand. The Swedish company’s Asia Pacific branch has announced a partnership with the Singapore-based start-up company Spare Parts 3D. Together, they are evaluating the strategy of 3D printing through a feasibility study.
Electrolux has faced extremely high costs in inventory, labor, production and maintenance from manufacturing and storing spare parts – even long after production of their respective appliances has been halted. They believe 3D printing may be able to solve this problem for them while also providing other benefits such as reducing lead times and increasing customer satisfaction. This would allow Electrolux to manufacture parts as and only when they’re needed via an array of 3D printing service providers – such as NeoMetrix Technologies and Spare Parts 3D.
The company interest formed after a recent report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a professional services network company, that projected over 85% of spare parts suppliers will integrate 3D printing into their business models within the next 5 years. Electrolux and Spare Parts 3D developed this 5-step feasibility study:
- A catalogue sections defines the correct criteria for 3D printing and selects the best business case to save Electrolux Asia Pacific the most amount of money possible with out involving any additional investments. There are 2 concerns at this point: a) the printability of the spare part – as some won’t be possible, and b) the profitability of implementing the 3D printing strategy – on a case-to-case basis.
- Spare Parts 3D conducts industrial engineering in order to determine which materials are best suited for the part and the most efficient production parameters for the print job.
- Digitalization is looked at in order to identify if a digital inventory can replace a warehouse full of parts
- Parts undergo various quality tests to ensure they are fit for distribution
- A direct comparison of the 3D printing strategy and traditional strategy are compared in order to properly analyze the profitability
Upon completion of the test, Electrolux Asia Pacific will make a decision on whether or not to implement the 3D printing strategy for manufacturing their spare parts on-demand