Additive Manufacturing in Offsite Repair of Consumer Electronics

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Department of Mechanical Engineering
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Proceedings of the 16th Nordic Laser Materials Processing Conference, NOLAMP16, Volume 89, Physics Procedia
Spare parts for products that are at the end of their life cycles, but still under warranty, are logistically difficult because they are commonly not stored in the central warehouse. These uncommon spare parts occupy valuable space in smaller inventories and take a long time to be transported to the point of need, thus delaying the repair process. This paper proposes that storing the spare parts on a server and producing them with additive manufacturing (AM) on demand can shorten the repair cycle by simplifying the logistics. Introducing AM in the repair supply chain lowers the number of products that need to be reimbursed to the customer due to lengthy repairs, improves the repair statistics of the repair shops, and reduces the number of items that are held in stock. For this paper, the functionality of the concept was verified by reverse engineering a memory cover of a portable computer and laser sintering it from polyamide 12. The additively manufactured component fit well and the computer operated normally after the replacement. The current spare part supply chain model and models with AM machinery located at the repair shop, the centralized spare part provider, and the original equipment manufacturer were provided. The durations of the repair process in the models were compared by simulating two scenarios with the Monte Carlo method. As the biggest improvement, the model with the AM machine in the repair shop reduced the duration of the repair process from 14 days to three days. The result points to the conclusion that placing the machine as close to the need as possible is the best option, if there is enough demand. The spare parts currently compatible with AM are plastic components without strict surface roughness requirements, but more spare parts will become compatible with the development of AM.
Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, digital spare parts, supply network, Monte Carlo simulation
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Chekurov, S & Salmi, M 2017, Additive Manufacturing in Offsite Repair of Consumer Electronics . in M Kristiansen & S L Villumsen (eds), Proceedings of the 16th Nordic Laser Materials Processing Conference, NOLAMP16 . vol. 89, Physics Procedia, Elsevier, pp. 23-30, Nordic Laser Materials Processing Conference, Aalborg, Denmark, 22/08/2017 .,