Η τεχνολογία της τρισδιάστατης εκτύπωσης και η επίδρασή της στην εφοδιαστική αλυσίδα
KeywordsΤρισδιάστατη εκτύπωση ; Προσθετική κατασκευή ; Εφοδιαστική αλυσίδα
The customer response capability is key to the successful operation of businesses. 3D printing is a disruptive technology that it can enhance this capability, by allowing for increased supply chain flexibility. The purpose of this master thesis is to study the 3D printing technology and its impact on supply chain, based on the literature research that was conducted. The greatest advantage of 3D printing is the capability to digitally design and print geometric complicated parts without the need for tools and molds development. This enables the production of customized products without cost penalties and lead time increasement. The need for high safety stock is also reduced, while the ability to print and assemble many components into a single part eliminates the need to produce or alternative purchase, transport and store all the different components that are required. All the above contribute to the configuration of more flexible supply chains, which are capable to adapt to changing market conditions. At present, most of the research in the literature concerns the low-volume production of complex geometry products, the demand of which is difficult to predict (e.g., spare parts). Although the evidence of the 3D printing’s potential in these cases is positive and encouraging, there are still several challenges - given the technology’s immaturity - that need to be addressed. Further research is also required to evaluate the potential of the technology, considering the changes in the entire supply chain, while no conclusion has yet been drawn regarding the suitability of 3D printing for mass production applications.