3D Printers: Leverage for Lower Logistics Costs?

They started making small plastic toys, simple dolls and chess pieces.
LWL024 3D Printers Toys
The 3D printer has now advanced to the point of making complex medical prosthetics and even solid automotive components.

In fact, the Swedish specialty car manufacturer, Koenigsegg, is using 3D printed components, such as air ducts, titanium exhaust components and even turbocharger assemblies in their vehicles!
LWL024 3D Car
What will this mean for us in the logistics industry?

This could mean that those difficult to pack, difficult to nest, bulky products will be produced much closer to the point of consumption: the plant or factory.

Shipments of dense, heavy resin, plastic pellets and metal ingots could be shipped the long distances, thus maximizing truck and container utilization and optimized to either volume or weight constraints.

The example below shows such a “bulky” shipment of plastic parts that would be a great candidate for 3D manufacture very close to the destination plant.
LWL024 3D Printer Plastic Parts
In addition to the transportation cost savings, there will probably be a significant reduction in import duties for components previously sourced from foreign countries. The import duty would be based on a much lower value, basically the commodity price of plastic or rolled steel instead of the cost of the higher value manufactured part from an overseas supplier.

In summary, the 3D printer could incredibly simplify our inbound component shipments and greatly reduce both transportation costs and import duties.

As always, we are at the threshold of exciting times!

Check out this recent article titled “Italian Firm ZARE Cuts Manufacturing Costs 50 Percent with Stratasys 3D Printing Technology

Click the following link for a PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION of this article: LWL024 3D Printers

About Lenny

Many years of experience in a Fortune 1000 companies, especially in the logistics and I.T. areas of manufacturing companies. Through process improvements and the use of many of the tools mentioned here, I have been able to identify and implement savings opportunities worth up to $10 million. I hope that some of these real-life stories, suggestions and tools can help you!
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