Together with logistics partner DHL Supply Chain, Sitech Services explores the possibilities of 'virtual warehousing', including 3D printing of spare parts on demand. A recent pilot proved that 3D printing of an industrial pump impeller in metal is possible.
3D printing is one of the techniques that can be used in virtual warehousing. The idea behind this is that not everything has to be kept in stock in order to obtain reliable, fast and cheap spare parts. As an alternative, spare parts can be put in stock at the manufacturer (just in time delivery). But printing spare parts on request is also a possibility.
Benefits of 3D printing
Although 3D printing is not yet cost-effective, there are benefits attached to it. For example, the delivery time of a spare part can be reduced from dozens of weeks to a few days. It is also possible to carry out repairs by printing a missing piece on the original part (rapid repair).
Gerard Ekhart, Business Development manager
The technique of 3D printing in metal is not yet fully developed, especially in the process industry there is still a great deal to discover. That is why Sitech Services employees went looking for a suitable spare part for a pilot. They decided on a pump impeller. After several attempts the Windesheim College from Zwolle succeeded in printing this pump impeller in metal. This spare part is built into an OCI Nitrogen factory, where it has been operating successfully for several weeks.
Sitech leads the way
The pilot will be followed up. Together with DHL Supply Chain and the Brightlands Additive Center, attempts are now being made to print a valve seal. With the pilot, Sitech Services wants to lead the way when it comes to leading technologies of the future and to challenge suppliers.