This video focuses on the common uses for AM in path II for three key industries. Recognize that these applications are relatively less common than those found on path I. Many offer strong value propositions around working capital reduction, speed to delivery, and mitigation of supply chain risk.
- Path II approaches are a less common but growing application area for med-tech, aerospace and defense, and automotive. Overall cost reductions particularly related to working capital loom large here. In addition, speed to delivery and a reduction of stockout risks are big issues. In med-tech, we already have two great examples. We talked about them when I introduced the framework. Here we saw hearing aid producers improve overall supply chain efficiency by switching to the use of additive manufacturing to produce customized devices with improved overall performance.
We also saw the US military deploy additive manufacturing to produce sterile field surgical kits allowing surgeons to conduct more procedures, reduce inventory, and decrease overall supply chain uncertainty on the battlefield. We're also seeing the military active in the application of additive manufacturing in aerospace and defense applications. The US military is exploring deployment of mobile additive manufacturing labs to manufacture quick replacements for products on the battlefield, thus reducing overall risk of stockout.
Similarly, NASA is working to install the first additive manufacturing device on the International Space Station, again, to mitigate the risk of not having the component that they need when they need it. In the aerospace sector, we see attempts to reduce spare parts cost and the overall cost of repair. BAE Systems is additively manufacturing, for example, window breather pipes for use in regional jetliners. These pipes cost 40% less than when traditionally manufactured and are made on-demand.
The availability of spare parts and repair of components is also a natural application in the automotive industry. Many see applications for the automotive aftermarket. The comedian Jay Leno provides a good example using additive manufacturing to reproduce parts for his collection of vintage cars. In more serious applications, as in aerospace and defense, some automotive components including those used for heavy equipment in remote locations can be expensive to replace. Directed energy deposition technologies are be considered for these applications in order to refurbish instead of replace low to medium complexity parts.
- What is additive manufacturing?
- Working with light-activated polymers
- Resin printing
- Modeling and extruding materials
- Fusing, melting, and sintering
- Binder jetting
- Laminating sheets
- Developing a product
- Shaping the direction of tooling
- Evolving a supply chain
- Evolving a product
- Evolving a business model