Jabil Creates Additive Manufacturing Network

Jabil is using a global network of 3D printers for volume additive manufacturing using just-in-time inventory.

3D printing as a manufacturing method continues to gain steam. Volume production in additive manufacturing was evident across the show floor at Rapid + TCT in Fort Worth last week. Multiple vendors displayed additive manufacturing systems. As part of the conference, Jabil introduced its new Additive Manufacturing Network.

Jabil, Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network, additive manufacturing, HP, Multi Jet Fusion, 3D printing, just-in-time inventory
Jabil is using HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers to produce HP 3D printers. (Image source: Jabil)

Jabil’s program is designed to increase manufacturing speed and agility while helping customers improve how they design, make, and deliver products. The goal of this cloud network is to help customers move manufacturing workloads to regions and into markets that make the most business sense while enabling product personalization.

Production Volume With No Inventory

Jabil executives noted that the company will use its network to unite product designers in Silicon Valley with Singapore-based manufacturing teams to speed the distributed manufacturing of products that have been developed using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology. “We’re making individual products—including 3D printers—using additive manufacturing technology. Traditionally, you would use molded parts,” John Dulchinos, VP of digital manufacturing at Jabil, told Design News. “There are 50 parts in the printer that would ordinarily be plastic molded. We’re using additive manufacturing.”

One of Jabil’s customers is HP itself. Jabil makes parts for HP 3D equipment, including HP’s Jet Fusion 300/500 printers that comprise more than 140 parts. Jabil produces the printers using a combination of Multi Jet Fusion technology and the Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network. “We print HP printers as a kit, one printer at a time. It’s less expensive than creating inventory,” said Dulchinos. “The volume is in the thousands, but not 20,000 or 25,000. At that volume, it’s cheaper to create inventory. But if it’s just a few thousand, it less expensive to print a kit of parts for each printer. That way, you don’t have the cost of inventory. It’s extremely just-in-time.”

Distributed Manufacturing Boosts Business Agility

Jabil's network was designed to unite product designers in Silicon Valley with Singapore-based manufacturing teams to accelerate the distributed manufacturing of products developed using HP Multi Jet fusion technology, including parts for HP's 3D printers. More than 140 parts for HP's Jet Fusion 300/500 printers are being produced by Jabil using a combination of Multi Jet Fusion technology and Jabil's Additive Manufacturing Network.

“Jabil’s digital thread fuels a growing footprint of 3D printers and additive manufacturing capabilities through localized production, consolidated supply chains, reduced costs, and faster time-to-market,” said Dulchinos. “Our network is a connective tissue that can scale globally to integrate every printer, facility, and work order across our enterprise. This is our vision of truly distributed manufacturing.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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