How 3D printing is changing the supply chain – Daimler EvoBus & EOS
Revolutionising the entire value chain management by introducing 3D printing: Stock keeping is inflexible but conventional manufacturing is not suited for on-demand production. With EOS, Daimler EvoBus uses innovative ways in their supply chain by using 3D printing for spare parts. With 3D printed parts for buses Daimler EvoBus no longer needs to store the part in question and avoids unnecessary excess production.
Benjamin Haller, Application Development Consultant at EOS GmbH, says: “The Daimler project as all about revolutionising spare parts management by introducing 3D printing.”
Ralf Anderhofstadt, Project Manager CSP 3D-Printing, Daimler Buses, explains: “We have an incredible range of variation. Around six months ago, we had approximately 300,000 active spare parts. Today that figure has risen to 317,000 items and is continually on the rise. This, in turn, also means we need to have a great many of these parts in stock which, of course, means we need a lot of space. We are having great difficulty dealing with minimum purchase volumes. Whenever we need a certain part, we are often required to order 10, 15, 20, or even 100 parts in some cases.
“This presents a major opportunity for Additive Manufacturing. Firstly, because we no longer need to store the parts in question and secondly, we avoid this unnecessary excess production. With EOS we have found ourselves a very good partner who is already active in a wide range of fields and with whom we are confident of being able to work out the right solution.”
“In the long term it will simply be about having the parts more readily available in places where it has not previously been possible to react quickly. Where we are then no longer speaking about the customer EvoBus, but about the end customer who receives their parts much quicker. This gives EvoBus a competitive edge over it’s competition,” says Haller.
Anderhofstadt continues: “We want to look at the entire value chain, beginning with part screening and ending with the possible scenario that printers are set up in our branches and outside organisations, and that the entire value chain is safeguarded as well. EOS creates the parts accordingly and also provides us with support.”
“We really envisage being able to design the Bus even better than today in five year’s time. Yes, that means designing it even more individually for the customers and really providing added value. And we believe that the 3D printing project we are currently undertaking can act as an introduction for Daimler, with the long term aim of making the Bus even better than it already is,” says Haller.
“We were surprised to find ourselves so far advanced in the project after only nine months,” said Anderhofstadt. “We have filtered out over 300 plastic parts, over 100 metal parts, and are currently in the process of digitalising the value chain accordingly.”
“Today, when we speak of centralised production, it means the machine will be centrally located at Daimler and the parts will be shipped from there. Then we will really begin to see the vision of having printers locally positioned where the parts are needed within three to five years. This means a far shorter supply chain, a digital supply chain, far shorter paths that make it possible to save a great deal on delivery costs and being able to supply the customer in a far shorter space of time. In other words we can revolutionise the entire supply chain at Daimler,” concludes Haller.