When most people think of 3D printing, the first thought that comes to mind is futuristic machines building houses, medical devices, cars, clothes, or even food. While it’s exciting to think about applications for 3D printing that will redefine how things are built and made for humanity, the reality is that the technology hasn’t quite been scaled to the point where those grand visions are a reality. We’re no closer to realistically having 3D printers build entire neighborhoods of cheap housing than we were a decade ago.
Additive Manufacturing, though not as hyped-up as full-blown 3D printing, is one of the most exciting frontiers of manufacturing and production coming to the forefront for the future of humanity. However, it is still a burgeoning field that is extremely competitive to break into. Because it can be difficult to launch a business and/or is cost prohibitive for smaller players, companies in this space must have the right manufacturing execution systems (MES) and quality management systems (QMS).
Additive Manufacturing companies are typically smaller and need the ability to be more nimble and service based. They require their own MES/QMS systems that are geared specifically toward their own business models and types of work performed. Additive Manufacturers need to have the ability to be agile and not tied down by bulky software platforms that aren’t designed for their unique specification requirements. Getting this right saves valuable time and money, which has become even more critical with the global economy shuttered due to coronavirus. When things do begin returning to normalcy, the manufacturers who have committed to optimizing their own internal systems and controls will be best suited to capitalize on the opportunities to ramp production back up to pre-pandemic levels.
Current Additive Manufacturing business challenges include the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus and subsequent quarantine. Many factories remain shuttered or orders have dried up. The best companies will be able to stay agile and maneuver through their challenges by thinking creatively and finding new ways to generate revenue. Additive Manufacturing can be adaptable, so companies may be able to pivot to producing different goods or working with various industries that are considered essential. Fortunately, Additive Manufacturing does not require a massive workforce prone to falling ill.
One of the most significant Additive Manufacturing business challenges, the cost of raw materials, has been made more difficult by the disruptions to global supply chains due to the virus. But managing your raw material usage is a key requirement for any AM production facility. Make sure your MES production floor software can track the usage of powder, filament, or other 3D printing material and provide a complete audit trail of inventory transactions.
Global business consultancy McKinsey estimates that by 2025, the worldwide market for Additive Manufacturing will approach $100-200 billion. It is still within the realm of possibility that these aggressive projections for the industry can be met or exceeded, but it will take manufacturers pushing their message to their clients and proving that many of the challenges faced in the AM business can be overcome. AM has its benefits, namely the ability to rapidly develop prototypes, pivot quickly from producing one part to another, eliminate material waste, and drastically cut down on setup and lead time. Bluestreak | Bright AM also integrates seamlessly with virtually all ERP/MRP systems to complete a seamless feedback loop of data.
Bluestreak | Bright AM is the leading platform for Additive Manufacturers and has been created with them specifically in mind. The platform has all the functionality that a smaller production floor focused on additive manufacturing needs, with none of the extras that will just add to the cost with no material benefit. The AM business can be rigorous—it’s for those willing to take a risk with the hope of taking a new technology to the next level. Partnering with Bluestreak | Bright AM is just what’s needed to propel AM businesses forward on their journey.
If your service includes Additive Manufacturing, we provide specific solutions in our Bright AM software. To request an Additive Manufacturing software demo, click here!