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Pursuing Additive Manufacturing Excellence through Supplier Relationship Management

  • today
  • access_time 2:30 - 2:55 PM CT
  • location_onRoom W185 B & C
  • blur_circularConference
  • monetization_onPaid Upgrade
The growth and acceptance of additive manufacturing technologies as a viable means for mass manufacturing, has sparked an influx of vendors of both materials and printers. The scrappiness and hustle of these developers in this quickly growing space is further contributing to new applications and agile development, and acceptance on the part of end users. In the process of carving applications in the additive space, material and printer suppliers are also creating hurdles that end users cannot feasibly clear. Specialized printers, with locked parameters, that only work with specific materials, from specific suppliers create a black box within which it can be nearly impossible to operate. This process leads to reduced growth and adoption, as well as an untenable position for end users. If their business depends on an additive process, it’s not good business to single source a material, a printer, and technical knowledge from a single vendor. Furthermore, the best additive technology suppliers, may not have the highest performance in material technology as well. These lessons in end user flexibility, scalability, and agility to enable manufacturers to adopt current processes, are the driving forces for future use. We will present a framework for successful vendor management that drives success for both the customer and supplier.  The additive manufacturing industry is largely served by suppliers who have adopted a model of using closed source machinery that can accept only OEM materials. This limits the impact that end users can have in terms of tweaking machinery parameters have stuck to a model that does not separate materials and the technology used to validate the materials, in turn limiting the viable suppliers for specific applications, and slowing down adoption.