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Optimizing manufacturing costs using estimation software



The manufacturing business, a small and medium-sized enterprise specializing in precision components, was facing challenges in optimizing its manufacturing costs and lead times for producing critical parts. The company was exploring the feasibility of incorporating 3D printing into its production process. However, they needed a comprehensive cost analysis to understand how 3D printing compared to traditional manufacturing methods in terms of cost-effectiveness and lead time reduction.


The manufacturing business sought the expertise of 3dpmaven, a consulting firm specializing in additive manufacturing, to conduct a detailed cost analysis. 3dpmaven proposed an innovative approach using advanced estimation software to compare various manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing and traditional methods. The following steps were undertaken:

Discovery Workshop: 3dpmaven conducted a discovery workshop with the manufacturer's engineering and procurement teams to understand their specific needs, goals, and the types of components they were interested in producing.

Proof of Concept Setup: The 3dpmaven team configured the estimation software to meet the individual requirements of the manufacturing business. This involved customizing the software to account for the company's production parameters, material preferences, and quality standards.

Software Analytics: Utilizing the estimation software, 3dpmaven conducted a comprehensive analysis comparing ten different manufacturing technologies, including various 3D printing processes (e.g., FDM, SLS, SLA) and traditional manufacturing methods (e.g., CNC machining, injection molding). The analysis considered material costs, labor, equipment, setup, post-processing, and lead times.

Presentation of Results: 3dpmaven presented the results of the cost analysis to the manufacturing business management and engineering teams. The presentation included a detailed breakdown of cost comparisons for each technology, highlighting cost reduction opportunities and lead time benefits.

Business Case Initiation: Based on the analysis results, the manufacturing business initiated a business case to implement 3D printing for specific components using external service providers. The business case outlined the cost savings, lead time reductions, and potential improvements in product customization and design flexibility.

Results Achieved

The implementation of the cost analysis and the subsequent initiation of 3D printing for certain components yielded sustainable results for the manufacturing business:

Cost Reduction: The manufacturing business achieved a remarkable 20% cost reduction in procuring 3D printable parts compared to the traditional manufacturing methods previously employed. This cost reduction was attributed to lower material waste, reduced labor costs, and decreased post-processing requirements.

Lead Time Savings: On average, the company realized lead time savings of approximately 8 weeks for parts produced using 3D printing. The rapid prototyping and production capabilities of 3D printing allowed the manufacturing business to respond more swiftly to customer demands and design iterations.

Improved Competitiveness: By adopting 3D printing selectively for specific components, the manufacturing business enhanced its competitiveness in the market. The ability to offer cost-effective, customized solutions with shorter lead times positioned the company as an agile and customer-centric supplier.

Exploration of New Opportunities: The cost analysis also identified additional opportunities for applying 3D printing in areas where customization, complexity, and low to medium production volumes were critical factors.

In collaboration with 3dpmaven, utilizing advanced estimation software, not only optimized their manufacturing costs and lead times but also empowered them to embrace additive manufacturing as a strategic sustainable tool for innovation and competitiveness in their industry. The changes and the measures are continuously applied and have become an integral part of daily operations.

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