Volvo uses 3D printing to deliver spare parts
Typical parts made by 3D printing so far include parts of a cabin, plastic coverings, and sections of air conditioning units
Volvo CE has introduced 3D printing in order to deliver spare parts to customers more quickly and efficiently. The company is also investing in 3D printing methods in the research and development of its prototype machinery.
For its aftermarket service, Volvo CE commissions the creation of spare parts made of thermoplastics to send to customers who require the replacement of a part that has worn out through natural usage.
Parts can be made of any shape and size, and for any unit in Volvo CE’s range of off-road machinery. Typical parts made by 3D printing so far include parts of a cabin, plastic coverings, and sections of air conditioning units. The company uses its own archive of drawings, 3D models and product information to feed into the printer to produce the correct new part.
The creation of new parts via the 3D printing process can take as little as one week. Fast delivery of required components maximises the uptime of customers’ equipment, and the ability to supply new parts to replace those that have gone out of normal production may also extend the lifetime of the machine as a whole. Parts made of metals through additive manufacturing may also be offered in future.
Daniel Kalfholm, project leader for aftermarket purchasing for Volvo CE’s EMEA region, said: “Lead-times are significantly reduced with 3D printing, and since there are no minimum order quantity requirements, we benefit from quicker delivery of parts, lower inventory levels in our warehouses and an improved ability to balance supply and demand. It can all be carried out a purchase price that is comparable to that of a traditionally manufactured component.”