The Impact of 3D Printing on the World Container Transport:

by M. Ye

Institution: Delft University of Technology
Year: 2015
Keywords: 3d printing; wcm; world container transport; world container model; freight modelling; gravity model; logit model; logit choice; 3DP; am; additive manufacturing; rapid manufacturing
Record ID: 1251431
Full text PDF: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:f16ee590-5804-4beb-b72c-a32346d0f175


Due to the recent hype around 3D printing technology regarding its disruptiveness for global manufacturing and supply chains, and thus transport in general, an attempt has been made to assess its impact on the global maritime container transport for the next 20 years. The first step was to gain insight of the 3D printing technology and its sector using literature and market reports. It appears 3DP is still mostly in its infancy. Only basic plastic processes are at the most advanced level. High quality plastic and metal processes are around the pre-production phase, while other material processes are still undergoing experiments. The market and its technical capabilities will surely grow steadily in the next decades. Several improvements can already be expected in terms process improvements, speed, quality control and materials for the coming decade. The second step involves the assessment of how 3DP relates to current manufacturing and supply chain theories, and to subsequently develop a score model to quantify the current impact of 3DP on manufacturing and supply chains. 3DP provides manufacturing firms a unique set of attributes. As firms aim for increasing competitiveness, they will do so by upgrading their competitive capabilities. 3DP influences these capabilities differently (compared to conventional manufacturing) depending on the product that the firm makes and the market in which the firm operates. The 3D Competitiveness Score Model was developed to assess and quantify its competitiveness (or impact) for different markets. It shows to be capable of predicting market potential for a type of product, but not exactly the market penetration. The location of 3DP deployment impacts the supply chain and its logistics. The analysis shows that 3DP has been deployed in centralized as well as decentralized manufacturing setups. Case studies of the dental implants and hearing aid industry suggest a high 3DP market penetration also leads to the decentralization (localization) of manufacturing. Market data from the case studies have been used to formulate the relationship between score model scores and the decentralization level, which will be used to derive transport flows. Due to its extensiveness in terms of variables and statistics used, the World Container Model will form the basis for assessing the future 3DP impact on the world container transport. Five different future scenarios are formed based on varying technological advancement rates of 3DP. Based on the notion that the decentralization level equates to the percentage of transport volume reduction in tons for NSTR 9 commodities (final goods), and allocation of this volume to the supplying NSTR group based on the raw material composition of the NSTR 9 subgroup, the new O/D matrix containing TEUs distribution between countries can be compiled. The WCM results show that 3DP is not likely to cause a threat, in the form of significant throughput or transport flow reduction, for the global container transport in the next two decades. As the GDP and world…