Large construction companies like Caterpillar have learned that additive manufacturing (AM) provides a unique opportunity to serve customers by providing spare parts for massive pieces of machinery.
Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) is the latest to jump on that opportunity. Volvo CE announced that it will be using AM to create aftermarket parts for customers.
Because construction machinery is so large and specialized, and the equipment is designed to last for such long periods of time, 3D printing can be used to create highly specialized spare parts more quickly and affordably than would be possible with traditional methods. This is particularly true for legacy equipment that may not be in production any longer.
“We are supporting customers through the life cycle of their equipment,” Jasenko Lagumdzija, Volvo CE manager of business support, said. “It’s especially good for older machines where the parts that have worn out are no longer made efficiently in traditional production methods. Producing new parts by 3D printing cuts down on time and costs, so it’s an efficient way of helping customers.”
Turnaround time for replacement can be as short as a week, which minimizes downtime for a piece of equipment in the field. The ability to replace parts for legacy machines also extends the equipment’s lifetime even further. And, because AM is designed for small run sizes, there is no minimum order requirement, which also reduces Volvo CE’s reliance on maintaining part inventories.
Read more at ENGINEERING.com