Benefits of additive manufacturing

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The benefits of additive manufacturing

The Deloitte Digital Factory @ Formlabs Digital Factory Conference

The importance of additive manufacturing increases significantly in the context of digitalization, especially regarding flexibility and design opportunities. The Deloitte Digital Factory highlighted the benefits of additive manufacturing at the second event of the Digital Factory conference series hosted by Formlabs.

From Yvonne von Ostrowski, Pierre Lunet and Julia Kluger

Although digitalization is a driver for core business optimization and new business models, the orientation is challenging. Companies have to manage the trade-off between efficiency and flexibility in terms of balancing traditional core business and digital business models to enable the transfer of best practices and hence gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, the Formlabs Digital Factory Conference at the UnternehmerTUM, the center for innovation and entrepreneurship at the Technical University of Munich, focused on additive manufacturing, connected machinery and intelligent supply chains.
 

What is additive manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing is an innovative technology, which is partly answering challenges related to the digitalization such as mass-customization and shorter product life cycles (for example for aftermarket in the Aerospace & Defense industry or for tooling and fixtures in the Railway industry). It counters with reduced lead times, enhanced product differentiation, modification, increased design innovations and redesigns by enabling complex geometries. Furthermore, raw material utilization is optimized in production, which reduces purchasing costs and waste generation.

Even if additive manufacturing provides a huge potential among the entire supply chain, no one has an industrialized solution so far. Because of the long and challenging process of a large-scale digital transformation, it is important to start small but think big. That is why many clients are interested in the quantification of the impact of such technology to their supply chain.
 

How to measure digital value?

At the conference, Deloitte presented its Digital Value Map, which enables the quantification of the impact on the client’s cost structure based on the comprehensive Deloitte Use Case Library including various digital uses cases along the entire value chain. The effects are individually assessed and incorporated, but additional potential lies in the integration of individual use cases: the effects of integrated use cases are exceeding the aggregated impact, but need to consider dependencies and counter effects. For example, 3D printing changes the entire company structure and has an influence on production as well as engineering, procurement and quality. It can be interrelated with predictive maintenance and quality analytics, leveraging further benefits through the integration of use cases. For example, the information of higher repair work rate to machine and predicted quicker adjustments of defect parts affect the 3D print of soon-to-be defect machine parts.

Deloitte presented experiences from client projects where the actual savings and benefits of additive manufacturing were measured along the supply chain. Besides material, design and tooling costs during product development, procurement or production, transportation or inventory costs appearing in the logistics processes and after sales can be reduced with the right approach. Therefore, Deloitte considers that a strategic approach on additive manufacturing must be part of a holistic digital transformation concept to leverage a wide range of benefits along the entire value chain.