Marine spares e-procurement portal ShipParts.com reports that it is taking part in a project to investigate the potential impact of additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, on the way spares are procured and delivered for the maritime industry.
The company estimates that digitalising procurement processes could cut order processing time for spare parts by 80%, by allowing ShipParts.com to provide secure digital files to a 3D printing specialist near to the customer rather than sourcing a part and sending the item directly.
“The technology has the potential to revolutionise the spares industry. Parts can be produced on demand, close to demand location, bypassing the time-consuming logistics, storage, shipping and customs procedures,” said Roy Yap, ShipParts.com Chief Growth Officer.
“(In the future), 3D printed parts will be of equivalent quality to (traditional parts today); the original data from which the part is manufactured is identical in both cases, and it is possible to use a wide variety of metals and alloys, as well as plastic-based materials, in the 3D printing process.”
“Currently, logistics become involved, and that takes time. If our manufacturers have to send a part, say from an origin factory where it is made to the destination port or shipyard, where the customer needs it, then there are costs involved. If we just send the secure data to a 3D manufacturing hub at the port or shipyard, where the data can be verified and the part produced, the customer can receive the parts within a much shorter lead time.”