3Diligent Announces Its Manufacturing Network Has Expanded to Nearly 250 Locations Across Six Continents

Company’s Breadth of 3D Printing, Machining, Casting and Injection Molding Technologies Enable On-Demand Custom Part Fulfillment Globally

El Segundo, Calif. – April 29, 2019 – 3Diligent announced today it has now qualified and networked digital manufacturing facilities on six continents. Its network of nearly 250 contract manufacturing partners spans more than a dozen countries and 1,200 machines.

This milestone means 3Diligent is able to offer faster and more cost effective support to customers seeking a single partner for their global custom part manufacturing needs. Through its dynamic utilization of regional manufacturing facilities near the final delivery address, 3Diligent can cut down on delivery time and shipping costs. Perhaps more importantly for large businesses, 3Diligent can also provide a single platform through which to track and manage digital manufacturing activity across the enterprise.

“The promise and power of digital manufacturing – especially 3D Printing – lies in its ability to quickly and easily get the same part made in different places using the same 3D design file,” said 3Diligent CEO Cullen Hilkene. “We are proud to have qualified and networked expert manufacturing partners around the world who are capable of making this vision of the future a reality.”

The trend toward “distributed digital manufacturing” is accelerating as more companies consider Computer Aided Design (CAD) driven technologies like 3D Printing and CNC Machining to enable on-demand spare parts and even production runs. The “supply web” is emerging as a way to utilize these digital manufacturing technologies to increase agility and flexibility within a company’s supply chain.

“3Diligent provides companies a partner and ready-made fabrication network to deliver around the globe for their customers and their own internal operations,” said Hilkene. “This powerful combination of cutting edge equipment, material breadth, geographic coverage, and consistent quality makes 3Diligent a category of one among distributed digital manufacturing companies.”

Companies can use the 3Diligent RFQ process to access its nearly 30 available manufacturing processes, including 3D Printing / additive manufacturing, machining, casting, and injection molding. A full list of capabilities is available here – https://www.3diligent.com/online-machine-shop/.

3Diligent has delivered digital manufacturing services from prototype through production for a wide variety of industries including industrial products, automotive, medical device, aerospace, energy and design firms. A notable recent project involved the 3D Printing of unique aluminum curtain wall nodes for Walters & Wolf to help deliver the iconic exterior look and feel of the upcoming Rainier Square Tower in Seattle.

For more information on 3Diligent’s capabilities and to submit your request for quote (RFQ), visit https://www.3diligent.com.

About 3Diligent
3Diligent is an innovative rapid manufacturing services provider offering CAD/CAM-based fabrication services such as 3D Printing, CNC machining, casting, and injection molding. 3Diligent launched in 2014 to provide businesses deterred by the cost and obsolescence risk of 3D printer ownership a single source for faster, more convenient, and more affordable additive manufacturing services. It has since evolved to offer additional digital manufacturing services to support its customers from prototype through production and aftermarket stages. 3Diligent uses data science to analyze customer requests for quote (RFQs) and identify optimal solutions across its network of qualified providers. 3Diligent’s next-generation approach to rapid manufacturing allows customers to simplify their procurement and outstanding manufacturers to get more out of their capital investments. 3Diligent counts companies from Fortune 500 enterprises to startups among its customers. For more information, visit http://www.3Diligent.com/.


Additive’s Impact on Manufacturing Pt. 2: How 3D Printing Will Change Manufacturing in the Future

In our previous blog post, we examined how 3D printers affect how we design, how quickly products get to market, how we make tools, and how we fix things. But is that the extent to which additive manufacturing will be felt? The answer is a decided no. Additive is already opening doors to bigger impacts down the road. In today's post we will spell out how 3D Printing will change manufacturing in the future.

3D Printing Will Change the Definition of High Performance Parts

Photo courtesy of cnet.com.

During the last post, we highlighted how 3D Printing is affecting the way that we design. This impact has largely centered around how quickly we can develop new products and arrive at better designs. Overwhelmingly, designs are still in this phase, orienting around legacy manufacturing technologies. In particular, parts are designed for casting or injection molding as the expected means of mass production. That is beginning to change with improved speeds and decreased costs of 3D Printing. Up to this point, 3D printers have been fighting a game with one hand tied behind their back. Uniquely capable of achieving geometries that are otherwise impossible, 3D printers have largely been allocated against printing designs that are readily made with other technologies. And as a function of that, 3D printers are rarely the current choice for mass production. That may be changing.

Photo courtesy of techcrunch.com

Since machines are getting faster and more cost-effective, designers and procurement managers are considering whether 3D Printing will change manufacturing in terms of scalability. For production runs in the thousands or tens of thousands, this may be the case; especially if the designs were created with 3D Printing in mind. Take for instance the GE fuel nozzle. It serves as a benchmark example of how a company was able to create a better performing product and fabricate it more cost-effectively through the use of additive manufacturing. At this moment, the examples of those high performance additive parts are largely limited to the aerospace and medical sectors. However, we have every reason to believe that the industrial, energy, consumer products, and automotive markets are right on course to embrace additive similarly. Recent announcements from Ford and Gillette reinforce this notion.

3D Printing Will Change Supply Chain Management

Another key way in which 3D Printing will change manufacturing in the months, years, and decades to come is in how we will manage our supply chain. As companies unlock the design potential of 3D Printing with higher performance parts that take full advantage of additive manufacturing ability to create organic shapes, lattice structures, gradient alloys, or unique material formulations, the only viable option for fabricating these parts will be 3D Printing. Once that occurs, the structure of the traditional supply chain will fall apart. No longer will it be practical to have fabrication take place in far-away, low-cost countries when there is virtually no labor input to the parts. The cost combined with the delay of maritime shipping will bring fabrication much closer to the end customer. As a result, fabrication of end-use parts or sub-assemblies may occur at forward locations in the supply chain: the distributor, retail, or even consumer level. We refer to this as the supply web.

Instead of a relatively direct chain that connects a product from a low-cost center of mass production - to a semi local distribution center - to a local retail location - to an end consumer, fabrication may instead take place at any step along that path. A geographic overlay of how parts feed into this production flow looks more like a web than a chain. This will have a profound impact on the way companies manage their own supply chain. Their traditional partners may not be suited for a supply web world and they may need to entertain new partners who are prepared for this paradigm. Additionally, companies may increasingly consider managing their own fleets of 3D printers. Doing so may provide them an opportunity to potentially create cost savings for their end products.

3D Printing Will Change How We Keep Inventory

As noted previously, 3D Printing will change the way we look at supply chain. For companies that fully utilize 3D Printing's ability for localized manufacturing, inventory management practices will fundamentally change as well. Unlike a traditional manufacturing environment where asset production order is established and a certain amount of safety stock is kept of a given SKU, 3D Printing will instead allow for on-demand fabrication of parts as demand signals dictate. Gone will be the days of requiring huge advanced commitments to quantity since the parts can be fabricated on demand. Again, one of the core challenges to this is simply how many machines are available to fulfill the program. That is why distributed fabrication solutions such as 3Diligent may be an intriguing partner to companies, given the relatively elastic supply of a distributed fabrication solution.

3D Printing Will Change the Way We Customize Products

A final way in which 3D Printing will fundamentally change manufacturing is in how we customize products. Customization is already a main focus of current manufacturing methods. However, the product itself is not truly customized for the customer. Rather, the combination of parts is customized. Take for instance a personalized elbow or knee brace. In the current paradigm, each component is set to a size of small, medium, or large; and the most extensive customization may be in combining those constituent parts. Another customization may be in picking a particular color or material.  This is not true customization.

3D Printing will facilitate truly customized products at a massive scale. In this future state, an individual's unique body geometry can be scanned and fabricated on demand to fit those exact dimensions in ways not currently possible. Personalization of that part may extend beyond the shape and into the color or design imprinted upon it. We point here to the most extreme case where every customer has his or her own unique SKU. But the likelihood exists that there are many gradients between the current state of customization today and that full massively bespoke reality as well. As we touched on in our previous discussion, the rapid iteration cycles that 3D Printing facilitates also mean that different product designs can be tried out in different markets and many additional SKU's can be effectively supported. We believe 3D Printing will change customization by moving towards digital media or advertising. Products will be put into market relatively affordably for customers to react to and the ones that succeed can gain greater traction in market.

Summary: 3D Printing Has Even Bigger Impacts on Manufacturing to Come

In our previous blog post we called out the ways that 3D printing has already changed the world of manufacturing. And while those changes are significant, we think the changes still to come are even more impactful to manufacturing as we know it. The changes to come are massive, including improving the performance of parts through enabling entirely new geometries and material combinations, changing the way our supply chain is structured, impacting the way we think about just-in-time inventory, and lastly in the way that we customize parts to individual desires.  It's going to be a fun trip, and at 3Diligent, we're excited to be your sherpas for that journey.