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Digital Ecosystems

Whirlpool uses 3D printing to optimize its spare parts system

Additive manufacturing processes enable cost-effective production of even small quantities. Whirlpool has tested the applicability of the new technology for its entire spare parts catalog.

10 Dec. 2018
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Whirlpool uses 3D printing to optimize its spare parts system (Photo: SpareParts3D)

In order to make spare parts supply more efficient, the international household appliance manufacturer Whirlpool is cooperating with the company Spare Parts 3D . The 3D printing company uses the Digipart software, which examines to what extent the production of existing parts can benefit from switching to 3D printing. A review of Whirlpool's parts catalog, which includes about 11,000 items, showed that additive manufacturing processes are more economical for 7% of components. The rapid availability of printed spare parts also counteracts potential bottlenecks at an early stage. Spare Parts 3D uses three different printing processes - Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA) - as well as many different materials to cover the widest possible range of spare parts.

The importance of additive manufacturing processes will likely continue to increase as the new technologies become established. Researchers at ETH Zurich recently presented a new printing process for the production of magnetic objects . Such components are, for example, used in the electric motors of household appliances.

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