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DiManEx Contributes to Find the Business Case for Digital Spare Parts in VTT Study

By November 11, 2020 No Comments
3D printed plastic head light unit

The report finds compelling business cases for spare part digitization and provides recommendations on the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM) in the aftermarket.

Espoo, Finland, Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – DiManEx is proud to share new insights from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd’s “New Business from Digital Spare Parts” (DIVALIITO). This comprehensive joint research project with Aalto University studied identification methods to find parts that are suitable for AM, as well as part performance, workflow and quality assurance implications, and embedded intelligence or “smart” spare parts.

The aftermarket is changing

Aftermarket services are extremely important for many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Decreasing new equipment sales have driven many OEMs across industries to focus on parts, repair and equipment maintenance. But traditionally, spare parts have been manufactured in very inefficient ways, using large batches with long lead times and tying up working capital in warehouses. Technologies like AM offer a promising alternative to simplify supply chains. AM shortens lead times and allows for production in small batches, reducing inventory levels. The challenge is identifying the right parts.

Enter Supply Chain Inspector

There are two crucial aspects to identifying parts that are suitable for AM. One is the technical feasibility. The other is economic feasibility. DiManEx collaborated with VTT to perform automatic part identification using Supply Chain Inspector, the analytics engine on the DiManEx platform.

DiManEx provided a data set of 104 original parts from 3 different companies: a service organization, a capital goods company and an appliance manufacturer. The data set included part-specific metrics like material, dimensions and weight; and supply chain metrics like part availability, minimum order quantity, lead times and service lifetime. The resulting analysis in Supply Chain Inspector showed that 33% of parts in this dataset had both technical and supply chain potential for digitization. What was also noteworthy is the “data health check” feature on the platform, which points out gaps in the data and enables companies to complete the data set for more results.

supply chain inspector analysis

According to the report, tools like Supply Chain Inspector are “very valuable and welcome” to capture the value of digital spare parts and analyze data effectively. Sini Metsä-Kortelainen, Senior Scientist at VTT says: “One of the bottlenecks for the digitalization of spare parts is finding 3D printable parts from large warehouses that can carry hundreds of thousands items. In addition, information about the parts might be in several locations and formats, and part of it can be missing. The assessment of 3D printability and cost-effectiveness can be done part by part. However, it requires lots of time and manual work. The tools like the ones DiManEx has developed enable a wider implementation of digital spare parts. This leads to better availability of spare parts, remarkable cost-savings, shorter delivery times and positive environmental impact.”

DiManEx CEO Tibor van Melsem Kocsis says: “Research projects like DIVALIITO are essential to demonstrating the value of embedding AM in supply chains. They confirm that AM is cost efficient in several situations, as it shortens delivery times considerably, removes the need for physical warehousing and allows for on-demand production closer to the end user. This is increasingly valuable at a time of high demand uncertainty. We are very proud to contribute to this multi-disciplinary project and thank VTT for the opportunity.”

Report highlights

The report concludes that there is great potential for digital spare parts, given the rapid and cost-efficient manufacturing of individual parts or small batches. Digitalization of spare parts is especially suited for situations like unexpected plant breakdowns, long delivery times due to conventional serial production processes, as well as parts for aging assets. Click here to download a copy of the report and uncover more findings.

About the report

The research project, managed and implemented by VTT and Aalto University, took place over the course of several years and was funded by Business Finland, Kiwa Inspecta Oy, KONE Oyj, Valmet Technologies Oy, and Wärtsilä Services Switzerland Ltd.

About DiManEx

DiManEx’s end-to-end platform re-invents your supply chain, eliminating unnecessary transport, costs and waste. The company provides 3D printing as a Service, enabling you to produce parts on-demand and closer to the end user. This increases flexibility and speed in your product life cycle. It improves your environmental footprint, reduces supply chain risks, and helps you save costs on materials, logistics and stock keeping units (SKUs).

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Media contact:
Gloria Quintanilla