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Additionally, requirements placed on aircraft operators are far more stringent than those experienced by car owners due to stricter inspection and maintenance guidelines and more demanding part specifications. High tooling costs and long lead time frequently drive up the price of aftermarket parts. In most cases, low volume production may not justify the tooling costs for a new build, and in certain instances, the original supplier may no longer be in business.

3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, and traditional machining offer an innovative solution for both OEMs and consumers seeking cost-effective spare parts. With tooling costs largely driving the high price of aftermarket components, OEMs can harness the benefits of 3D printing to produce low volume spare parts on an as-needed basis. This has the potential to dramatically shrink the supply chain, thereby freeing up resources associated with the production, delivery, and warehousing of parts.

Furthermore, OEMs have the opportunity to secure profit from the production and sale of an aftermarket components while also protecting their IP and fending off competition from 3rd party manufacturers who reverse-engineer and sell components at prices that OEMs often cannot match with traditional manufacturing methods.

Industry leading manufacturers are exploring additive manufacturing for the cost-effective repair of complex components. Siemens, for example, now utilizes metal 3D printing to replace the burner tips for its SGT-800 industrial gas turbine: “Selective laser melting allows the new tip to be – 3D printed – onto the old burner. This greatly simplifies and speeds up the repair, by a factor of about ten, – according to Vladimir Navrotsky, head of Technology & Innovation at Siemens Energy Service Oil & Gas and Industrial applications.

3D Printing Aftermarket Car Parts