When contract-manufacturing companies like Jabil invest in additive manufacturing, the question of whether this technology is suitable for production may be answered.
Jabil (NYSE: JBL) is introducing the Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network, a cloud network that the company will use to deliver greater manufacturing speed and agility to help customers improve how they design, make and deliver products.
A key point about the network is that Jabil customers will be able to move manufacturing workloads to regions and into markets that make the most business sense.
“Jabil’s digital thread fuels a growing footprint of 3D printers and additive manufacturing capabilities to benefit customers through localized production, consolidated supply chains, reduced costs and faster time-to-market,” said John Dulchinos, vice president of digital manufacturing, Jabil. “Our new Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network is the connective tissue that scales globally to integrate every printer, facility and work order across our enterprise and crystalize our vision of truly distributed manufacturing.”
Over the past year, Jabil has increased its 3D printing capacity steadily with more than 100 3D printers now in operation at facilities in the United States, China, Hungary, Mexico, Singapore and Spain. A variety of 3D printing machines have been installed for high-speed sintering, fused filament fabrication, polymer and metal laser sintering and other processes. The types of products Jabil can manufacture, from 40,000 to 50,000 quantity, fit the needs of the footwear, industrial machines, transportation, aerospace and healthcare industries.
Jabil’s distributed manufacturing strategy is anchored by this growing ecosystem of 3D printers, which includes a dozen production-ready HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printers, following the recent installation of six HP Jet Fusion 4210 printers at Jabil’s Singapore facility. The Singapore facility will be used to make products for designers in Silicon Valley.
The Jabil facilities are already being used to 3D print parts for the HP 3D printers. More than 140 parts for HP’s Jet Fusion 300/500 printers are produced using a combination of Multi Jet Fusion technology and the Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network.
Designing for additive manufacturing
In addition, Jabil applies Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) methods to deliver steady increases in part/assembly consolidation, manufacturability, reliability and quality of 3D-printed parts. Because Jabil can handle the complexity of small manufacturing lot sizes, customers can see significant economies of scale and accelerated time-to-market.
Consistency and traceability
Jabil’s network provides full traceability of manufacturing rigor to address the complexity of scaling 3D printing across a distributed network. Moreover, the platform integrates seamlessly with Jabil’s Intelligent Digital Supply Chain (IDSC) to align materials, printers and customer orders with supply chain demands.
At its Singapore facility, Jabil leveraged proven engineering and manufacturing experience to ensure HP Jet Fusion process compliance in distributed ISO9001 facilities. The use of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) tools, as well as process control documentation, enables Jabil to scale its use of additive manufacturing technologies rapidly. This ability to integrate end-to-end digital threads will speed adoption of distributed manufacturing while improving management of entire product lifecycles, from ideation to end-of-life.