The Supply Chain Bunker Debrief (Episode #7) – Additive Manufacturing Steps Up

The Supply Chain Bunker Debrief (Episode #7) – Additive Manufacturing Steps Up

By Dave Evans, Fictiv CEO

Now on many people’s weekly schedule, the Supply Chain Bunker continues to offer a platform for collaboration and the exchange of ideas and experiences, and a space to meet to discuss challenges as they occur. And there are plenty right now!

There is no shortage of examples of additive manufacturing, or 3D Printing, helping in the fight against COVID-19. In this Bunker, we talked to executives from two of the companies on the vanguard of additive technology, and both doing their part. From 3D Printed Nasal Swabs for testing, and PPE for frontline healthcare workers to printing parts for medical devices and hospital equipment, both Markforged and Carbon have quickly implemented responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

Our guests in Bunker #7 were:

  • Bryan Painter, Vice President & GM of the Americas Region at Markforged. Bryan joined Markforged as employee 92 and has led the company’s Go To Market and global expansion taking the company to over 250 employees and growing orders by 300%.
  • And Philip DeSimone is Chief Customer Officer at Carbon and was a part of the founding team at Carbon in 2013. He’s responsible for customer success, retention and acquisition as well as managing Carbon’s most strategic relationships and customers, like Ford, BMW, Adidas, and Riddell. In 2016, Philip was a Forbes 30 Under 30 List and he has been extensively quoted and featured in the media.

Before we got into the debate with these rock stars of the additive industry here are a few headlines that caught the eye of my co-host Philip Stoten:

  • More consideration is being given to the post COVID-19 supply chain and manufacturing ecosystem as people grapple with returning to some kind of “new” normal.
  • According to a survey of more than 300 CFOs completed by PwC this month, supply chains will diversify in the wake of the pandemic, but they will only relocate completely as a last resort. The survey found that 56% plan to find alternate and additional sourcing options in reaction to COVID-19. Other findings include a desire to increase visibility, improve digital tools for supply chain management and to be able to better model and manage risk.
  • One of last week’s guest pointed out a great headline in WIRED this week that read, “As Workers Spread Out to Halt the Virus, Robots Fill the Gaps”. Social distancing requires rethinking the layout of workplaces and a new breed of robots is helping keep factories and warehouses running.
  • Those in the auto space continue to step up, the latest being Honda who have converted part of its technical center in Ohio to make ventilators in conjunction with Dynaflo Inc.
  • And let’s not forget disruption happens all the time. In an EMS executive interview conducted this week Philip was told that midway through the pandemic one plant was hit by an earthquake requiring the factory to be evacuated and then checked structurally before operators observing social distancing could return.

From our guest:

In this episode of the Bunker, we explored the role of additive manufacturing in the current pandemic, and how its digital approach makes it ideal for rapid product development and deployment. We explored how urgent demand and supply can be matched to ensure parts are quickly manufactured and deployed to where they are most needed. And took a look at the broader role of 3D Printing in a global manufacturing ecosystem and what has changed to drive greater deployment in multiple industries.

We started with both our guests by sharing their own experiences and their desire to help in any way they could. Philip DeSimone explained how quickly the decision to was made and how led by their President & CEO, Ellen Kullman, they quickly mobilized their manufacturing ecosystem to make PPE, with their design team pivoting from design the next printer to engineering a face shield. From their they moved to testing swabs for hospitals and within three weeks on the request they had trials in hospital and are now making more than 100,000 per week.

Bryan Painter explained how he observed the additive manufacturing community has really rallied to help first responders. That’s a really rewarding experience, he added. Markforged has a big industrial focus, so it was a big pivot. They started with an opensource face shield design for people in their network to print. The Engineers at Marforged then pivoted to come up with a swab design, partnered with the children’s hospital, and iterated from design to part within 36 hours.

These are just two of many great examples of the power of additive manufacturing to move through design, multiple iterations and on the production exceptionally fast.

The debate moved to the disruption to the additive industry’ supply chain and the need to integrate a strategy that covers materials as well as machines. Carbon benefit from using a liquid chemistry, while Markforged blend their own filaments.

The panel also discussed the importance of selecting the right process for each job. Additive manufacturing has a lot tom offer, but will not suit every manufacturing need. Developments in materials, processes and machines continue to make additive manufacturing competitive and in increasing volumes, like 100,000, but not when parts are required in the millions.

Philip explained the importance of value creation over the simple production process. Additional value can be achieved when a part is designed for additive manufacturing and has features that cannot be produced elsewhere. He cited some great examples, like sports helmets, car seat, and products where customization at scale is required.

Both Bryan and Philip underlined the importance of education and information in the adoption of additive manufacturing. Bryan spoke of the Markforged University, launch on 2019. Philip talked about the need to educate engineers and explain the value of having design for additive in their toolbox.

There is a lot more to this debate. The whole discussion was recorded and is worth an hour anyone’s time. Check out the recording here.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from The Supply Chain Bunker Episode #7:

  • Use the right tool for the right job, that may be additive
  • You can design in one location and print anywhere
  • Price still drives decisions
  • Materials and the ecosystem are key
  • Be an additive MVP in your company, you could go from zero to hero as a result
  • Rallying cry – go team additive, great work!!

There’s a lot more to come in the Bunker. Please get involved, tell us what you’d like to know by reaching out on Linked to Dave Evans or Philip Stoten. Last week’s Supply Chain Bunker is available to watch or you can register for the weekly series once and drop in as often as you like.

See you soon in the Bunker…



x Brown