The CMU Portugal Scientific Director and Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico Joana Mendonça, was interviewed by 90 Segundos de Ciência about her project on the impact of Additive Manufactiring, also known as 3D printing, in traditional manufacturing. The project, that is being developed under the CMU Portugal Program, concluded that the development of components used in the aeronautical industry, using additive manufacturing, is still not economically viable.
As part of the CMU Portugal Program, Joana Mendonça was invited to study the impact of Embraer‘s entry into Portugal. Within the scope of this study, one of the aspects under analysis was the adoption of additive manufacturing that allows you to print a three-dimensional object from a digital design that is created on a computer.
This study led to the publication of an article focused on the potential of this technology to change the configuration of parts of supply chains for the aeronautical industry. In the current model, parts are produced in large quantities in the countries of origin and then stored for shipment.
In this paper the research team evaluated the difference between producing the parts on site using 3D printing technology and of ordering the same parts from other locations, keeping it in stock for when it is needed. Both strategies imply different production, transportation and inventory costs.
“What we concluded is that as technology is today, it still doesn’t allow a decentralization of production effective to print the piece every time it is needed,” says Joana Mendonça.
However, the expectation is that technology may someday evolve to a point where the cost-effectiveness of producing on-site parts is feasible, but this is not yet possible.