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Additive manufacturing scenarios for distributed production of spare parts


Spare parts manufacturing and in-time provision are complex activities for several industries. One of the decisions that need to be made on a spare parts production is related to the location of the production. The distributed manufacturing of spare parts in locations closer to the final user may have several advantages, such as reduced delivery lead times and reduced logistics costs. However, distributed manufacturing by the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies raises challenges in terms of information exchange, communication, and control between the production sites. The connected industrial environment, brought by what has been called the 4th Industrial Revolution, might be the answer for this challenge. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to characterize centralization and independence levels between a central factory and a distributed production site for the manufacturing of spare parts leveraging additive manufacturing as main production process. Use cases have been developed with design and engineering—providing the product model—in Germany and the additive manufacturing (AM) site—providing the manufacturing structure and machines—in Brazil, together forming a distributed development and manufacturing network. Four implemented use cases demonstrate the evolution of the independence level between the central factory and the distributed site. The analyses focus on implications for work organization, network performance, and intellectual property protection. Results show that the connection, communication, and control brought by advanced manufacturing technologies and connected industrial environment to distributed manufacturing change the organizational structure of both sites creating a flexible focused factory with the production closer to the final client and the specialization centered at the central factory.

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Correspondence to Eduardo Zancul.

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Durão, L.F.C.S., Christ, A., Zancul, E. et al. Additive manufacturing scenarios for distributed production of spare parts. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 93, 869–880 (2017).

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  • Distributed manufacturing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Industrie 4.0
  • Spare parts
  • Organizational structure