Decentralized Production Based on Additive Manufacturing and Agile Logistics
Within the add2log project, an inter-company software-based platform, which provides central coordinating functions for an emerging value creation network between manufacturers, logistics providers, and third parties, will be developed and implemented as a prototype. The platform makes it possible to combine and integrate the potentials of additive manufacturing and agile logistics, resulting in new business models.
To date, companies secure the (sometimes worldwide) supply of spare parts by means of centralized production, central storage, and centralized delivery from one location. Additive manufacturing enables the distributed manufacturing of spare parts in different locations, such as supplier parks. With the help of additive manufacturing, costly inventory stockpiling, expensive express deliveries, and the time- and cost-consuming reproduction of spare parts that are no longer available can be reduced or even eliminated.
However, apart from the technical implementation, changed requirements for established value chains must be taken into account. In existing value chains, each actor has a clearly defined role: upon request by the receiver, the manufacturer produces parts, and the logistics provider is commissioned to deliver these parts.
By the increased use of additive manufacturing, these rigid one-to-one relationships of current value chains are transformed. The additive manufacturing of parts must not be necessarily done by the company itself, but can be performed in decentralized manufacturing hubs by third parties, such as logistics service providers.
Thus, future additive value creation networks must meet new requirements regarding the dynamics and agility of the networks. Starting in March 2017, as part of the BMWi-funded add2log project, these challenges will be jointly addressed by FIR and a consortium of partnering institutions, consisting of Fraunhofer ILT, DMG Mori Spare Parts GmbH, Materialise GmbH, and Software AG.
Within the add2log project, an inter-company software-based platform will be developed and implemented in prototype form, which shall be able to provide essential coordinating functions. With the help of the platform, all actors will be interconnected within a network and thus be able to increase the performance of the entire value creation network. In this way, the enormous potential of decentralized additive manufacturing hubs can be opened up and exploited.