The wave of the future. It’s a term we’ve heard all our lives as one product, process, or technology after another has come to pass; however 3D printing certainly encompasses the true definition of the saying, accompanying an industry riding high on today and tomorrow.
What’s ironic though is how beneficial 3D printing is to preserving yesterday as well. No longer do machines or other objects have to die, sent off to the industrial graveyard in shame, simply because the parts are no longer available. Coupling digital design and 3D printing, getting a part–any part–now may be just as simple as making a 3D scan or a re-design, deciding on the appropriate material, and fabricating it with little fuss.
Factory parts obviously have a niche industry, and an important one. Massive pieces of machinery really just can’t be easily discarded, and of course it’s generally much easier to maintain them than replace them; however, what about those hard to get, or obsolete, parts? Advanced Technology Services, Inc. (ATS) has always specialized in getting hard-to-find parts for their customers but due to a partnership with 3Discovered, it’s about to get much easier, and cheaper too.
ATS, headquartered in Peoria, IL with other offices and services centers located in the US, Mexico, and the UK, specializes in factory maintenance, industrial parts repair, and IT services. With factory equipment part replacement being crucial to their business–and their MRO (Maintenance Repair & Operations) customers–they will be able to expand and improve due to their relationship with 3Discovered, a leading industrial 3D printing services platform.
ATS’ customers will now be able to benefit from the power of 3D printed replacement parts thanks to the exchange platform supplied by 3Discovered that streamlines the acquisition and purchasing–or selling– of commercial-grade 3D printed parts and products. They work with a network of partners responsible for 3D printing the parts which can be used with nearly any equipment. Not only are obsolete parts easier to replace, the process is faster and more economical.
The new service will be offered to ATS’ customers through the Industrial Parts Services division, where they will begin with outdated or difficult to find parts for old machinery, as well as expanding what they are able to offer in the future.
“This is a historic milestone in what we believe to be a steady proliferation of 3D printing as the technology of choice for supplying critically-needed parts and products. 3Discovered’s platform was specifically developed to help companies seamlessly and securely incorporate this new technology in their supply chains, and we look forward to working with ATS to build on this opportunity,” said Peer Munck, Chief Executive Officer, 3Discovered.
The magic of 3Discoverered allows manufacturers and distributors, as well as individuals everywhere find ‘legacy’ and ‘long-tail’ parts and products that they can order piece by piece rather than having to carry full inventories. Parts can customized, and there aren’t any order size restrictions. Founded in Chicago in 2013, they created the first independent online exchange platform for buying, selling, and making 3D printed components for industrial requirements.
“We are very excited that our platform was chosen by ATS – an industry leader in the MRO outsourcing space – to power their supply chain for 3D printed parts,” Munck told 3DPrint.com. “We have worked hard to create a platform that meets the special needs of industrial and commercial 3D printing users and fabricators and our partnership with ATS will no doubt lead to more new and interesting opportunities for us and for them.”
The platform supplied by 3Discovered is cloud-based, and they focus on connecting designers, 3D printing operators, and customers in need–with care to “fulfill piracy-protected transactions of 3D printable designs and objects.”
Dealing with the issue of obsolescence is not only beneficial to factories and whomever else might need parts older parts, it’s better for the environment. As we all know, it’s a fast-paced and high-tech world where as soon as we need a part, sometimes a new product has already come along that’s cheaper to buy altogether–leaving the last to go to a landfill. Obviously, the environment is much better off if we’re able to maintain and rebuild, rather than toss away or just give up altogether.
3D printing is extremely helpful in preserving the past in other related ways as well, and we often follow both innovative and rather adventurous companies that work with museums for 3D scanning of ancient artifacts, as well as those that produce 3D replicas of archaeological finds so that they can be studied more easily. We follow stories of long lost parts being re-created and 3D printed for antiques such as cars, as well as items like antique instruments.
Due to today’s innovations, we can hold on to, maintain, and preserve yesterday. We can also appreciate not having to look far and wide for parts that have been or are becoming obsolete–as producing one is now as easy as looking toward the 3D printer.