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Technological innovations such as the Internet, neural networking, resistive and capacitive

touchscreens have disrupted the conventional technologies and processes.


Similarly, 3D printing also known as additive manufacturing has been transforming the
manufacturing industry for more than three decades now. Additive manufacturing has a
plethora of applications ranging from miniature enameled pottery items to
building 3D printed houses. Early application of additive manufacturing was limited to rapid
prototyping and medical applications such as manufacturing of 3D printed prosthetic limbs
and kidney. Evolution of 3Dprinting technologies in terms of processes such as fused
deposition modeling (FDM), poly jet/inkjet printing, direct metal laser sintering, selective
laser melting, and electron beam melting (EBM) is revolutionizing the application
of 3D printing across various end-user industries. Similarly, usage of several raw materials
such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyvinyl alcohol plastic (PVA), polycarbonate
(PC), nylon, resins, stainless steel, titanium and other metals is
assisting 3D printingtechnology to foray into various end users industries. Improvement in
the process and raw material has been aiding in the adoption of 3D printing technology.
However, the rudimentary working principle of 3D printing technology itself provides the
manufacturer with great advantages over the conventional manufacturing process.
Following are such key advantages of 3Dprinting technology.
Ability to Manufacture Complex Parts: 3D printing enables to manufacture parts,
products with complex design. Ability to add layers of raw material in intricate geometries
provides countless benefit compared to the machining process. In addition, the capability to
integrate computer-aided design (CAD) drawings with 3D printer empowers the
manufacture in adding layers of material in required complex geometries.
Reduced Time to Market: Elimination of conventional manufacturing such as milling,
turning, drilling along with advanced machined technologies such as computer numerical
(CNC) machining, laser cutting and electrochemical erosion among others, has resulted in
reduced time to market. Substantial reduction of set up time and changeover time
by 3D printingtechnology has been aiding manufacturer to produce parts and products
sooner to the market. Production of parts and products in the assembly line which
consumes around weeks of operation time has been reduced to days
by 3D printingtechnology. 3D printing technology reduces mold manufacturing time by 30-
50% as compared to conventional manufacturing.
Reduced Cost of Manufacturing: 3D printing removes different cost components of
conventional manufacturing, thereby substantially reducing the cost of 3D printing a product
or part. Tooling cost, setup cost, labor cost, and scrap or raw material wastage cost are
completely eliminated by 3D printing. Ability to use minimal raw material and reduce
overhead cost make 3Dprinting technology competitive. However, for high volume products,
conventional manufacturing is still cheaper due to economy of scale.
Customization and Risk Mitigation: 3D printing gives the control to create a new design
for the products and helps to personalize the design as required by the manufacturer. In
addition, failure of the 3D printed product inexpensively greatly mitigates the risk of
expensive rapid prototyping failures for manufacturers.
3D printing with its ensuing advantages was used by manufacturers from various end-
user industries with varying degree of adoption rate.
Healthcare industry limited 3D printing technology for producing prosthetic limbs and
organs. Industries such as automotive, aerospace, and architect are shifting usage
of 3D printing technology from rapid prototyping to production of end-user products.
However, mature industries such as pump and valve industry has been unhurried in the
adoption of 3D printingtechnology and are starting to investigate the usage
of 3D printing technology lately.
Deferral in Adoption of 3D Printing Technology by the Pump and Valve Industry:
3D printing technology has its own barriers for complete adoption by the pump and
valve industry, subsequently deferring its employment. Besides limitation
of 3D printing technology to rapid prototyping, following are the factors which restrained
application of 3D printing technology by pump and valve Industry.

 Range of Raw Material: Initial implementation of 3D printing involved raw materials


confined to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic (PVA),
Polycarbonate (PC), and other types of plastics along with Resins. Lack of
mechanical properties by the initially available raw material to withstand operating
conditions of Pump and Valve such as fluid alkalinity, vapor pressure, operating
temperature and others, hindered application of 3D printing technology by the pump
and valve manufacturers.
 Economy of Scale: Due to economy of scale, conventional manufacturing
demonstrated to be inexpensive for market participants with high – medium volume
of production such as pump and valve manufacturers. This led to limiting
of 3Dprinting technology to rapid prototyping and producing only replacement
products and spare parts.
 Protection of Intellectual Property (IP) and Cyber
security: 3D printing technology relies heavily on digital data such as CAD files,
online designs and its transmittance with the printer. Given the exposure of
technology to data theft and intellectual property
infringement, 3D printing technology had been unexciting to pump and valve
manufacturers. Mature pump and valve industry has been driving market participants
to strive for technological competitiveness. With the risk of exposing technological
competitiveness to competitors and other market participants had deferred
implementation of 3Dtechnology. In addition, patent license
for 3D printing processes such as Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA), Fused
Deposition Modeling (FDM), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) till their expiry by
2004, 2009, and 2014 respectively did not seem like remunerative investment to the
pump and valve manufacturers.

Opportunities for Pump and Valve Manufacturers


With the evolution of processes and integration of raw material with preferred mechanical
properties, 3D printing technology is able to cater to other end users such as pump and
valve manufacturers. Rising need to produce energy efficient and cost competitive products
with intricate geometries, pump and valve manufacturers are investigating the benefits
of 3D printingtechnology. Over the years, 3D printing technology has been overcoming its
limitations by constantly evolving the technology. Following are such advancements in the
process, which can provide worthwhile opportunities to pump and valve manufactures.

 Scaling Up: Economy of scale is a barrier to entry for 3D printing technology.


However, 3D printing technology’s ability to scale up by combining and producing
one large single component instead of multiple small components is revolutionizing
the supply chain. For instance, in 2017, GE Aviation with the aid
of 3D printing technology created a helicopter engine with 16 parts as compared to
the usual 900 parts. Similarly, elimination of core prints, core offset and integrating
core is expected benefit pump and valve manufacturers.
 Protection of Intellectual Property (IP): Protection of 3D printing’s CAD files is
critical to the manufacturer. Manufacturers often face challenges such as IP
infringement and counterfeiting of the original product. There are various ways to
safeguard a CAD file or the design itself. Initially end users can sign an NDA with
the 3D printing service provide to maintain data security. Patents and copyrights for
the design, printed object under various patent and copyright laws can safeguard
end users. For instance, Article L613-4 (IP code of France) forbids duplication of a
product without consent. Similarly, WIPO copyright treaty (Article 11) provides
copyright and patent holders with possibility of monitoring and curbing any
infringement.
 Reverse Engineering: With the typical pump lifespan of 15-20 years, it is evident
that some of the end users have decade old pump in
operations. 3D printing technology can aid in reverse engineering, especially in
cases where there is unavailability of design drawings of the pumps. 3D scanning
technology will empower end users to scan the product and reproduce the design in
CAD files and print by 3D printer, thereby, enabling the end user to manufacture the
product, or its spare parts and components.

Conclusion
Continued advancements in the processes will enable 3D technology to open Pandora’s
box of opportunities for pump and valve manufacturers. Valve manufacturer such as GE Oil
& Gas has already started utilizing 3D printing technology. GE Oil & Gas printed Masonelian
control valve parts at its Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Advantages
of 3D printingtechnology are expected to overpower its limitations and increase its adoption
rate by pump and valve manufacturers. However, economy of scale and IP protection will
limit large scale implementation of 3D printing technology by the manufacturers. The advent
of digital supply chain in the pump and valve industry is expected to
make 3D printing technology an indispensable asset for pump and valve manufacturers.