Additive Manufacturing

On Demand Manufacturing: What It Is and How To Use It

May 1, 2023
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On demand manufacturing refers to a manufacturing philosophy of rapidly making the parts that are directly needed instead of creating parts en masse to store at a warehouse. 3D printing exponentially makes this philosophy feasible with its quick speed to market.

In recent years, on-demand manufacturing has gained significant attention in enterprise businesses as an alternative to traditional manufacturing methods. Whereas conventional methods require high-volume production to be cost-effective, on-demand manufacturing produces low- to mid-volume goods when and where needed using 3D printing, CNC machining, and water jet technologies.

Disrupted supply chains, off-shore manufacturing, and skilled labor shortages have all contributed to the conversation regarding current manufacturing methods. However,  enabling the widespread adoption of next-generation manufacturing methods requires changing the current manufacturing paradigm to evolve harmoniously with all Industry 4.0 elements, including decentralization, interoperability, big data, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

In this article, we'll explore the importance of on-demand manufacturing and a few of its benefits.

Why is On-Demand Manufacturing Important?

On-demand manufacturing refers to creating products only when there is a demand instead of creating them in bulk quantities and storing them in a warehouse. Although globalization enabled a manufacturing culture of cheap, ‘just-in-time’ goods, the events of the last few years, including global supply chain constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, have underlined the importance of economic self-reliance and decentralized manufacturing.

The allure of on-demand manufacturing is its ability to make organizations more reactive to changing circumstances. For example, suppose a critical spare part breaks, and replacement parts are located at an off-site warehouse.

In that case, on-demand manufacturing methods can produce the part with shorter production lead time and less operational downtime. Additive manufacturing (AM) is a central player in transitioning away from rigid manufacturing mechanisms and precarious supply chains.

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Our enterprise software optimizes end-to-end AM processes for leading companies and 3D print services. We work closely with customers to provide solutions for prototyping, mass-individualization and serial AM. Software is one of the key tools to minimize both production time and material waste. With digital workflows, our software standardizes and evaluates AM data, automates the business processes associated with distributed manufacturing and optimizes production execution and quality assurance. These are the tools that enable data-driven production decisions and are building a foundation for automated Agile Manufacturing.

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