Mercedes-Benz Trucks, a division of Daimler, has announced that from September 30, customers will be able to order certain plastic spare parts produced by 3D printers. Initially, the technology will be used for 30 part lines but this will increase.
The move to 3D printing aims to significantly reduce supply chain costs. As stated in Mercedes’ press release, “The challenge in the spare parts business lies in securing supply even for model series which are no longer produced. This means that the range also includes spare parts for which there is only a low demand in small quantities every year. Producing them is thus increasingly uneconomical for suppliers – production facilities and tools often have to be retained and maintained for years. With the 3D printing process these challenges are a thing of the past, for every 3D spare part is available on demand at short notice all over the world.
“The printing itself can take place within a very short time following receipt of the design definition and order, considerably speeding up the production and supply of spare parts. As spare and retrofit parts can still easily be ‘reprinted’ even after a long time using the data stored and supplied without any complex stocking, no warehousing is required either. At the same time the burden on costs, resources and the environment is also eased, as there are no material surpluses, the disposal of which is very complex.”
Daimler already prints more than 100,000 prototype parts for its various divisions each year. These include covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements.
Source: Mercedes Benz