Today’s Pickup: Daimler Trucks North America to offer 3D-printed parts

Mercedes-Benz Trucks already produces 30 spare parts with the latest 3D SLS printing processes in Europe. DTNA will now test the technology in North America.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks already produces 30 spare parts with the latest 3D SLS printing processes in Europe. DTNA will now test the technology in North America.

Good day,

Following on the footsteps of its European counterpart, Daimler Trucks North America will begin shipping 3D printed parts under a pilot program. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit started a similar pilot in Europe last year.

DTNA said 3D printing represents an opportunity “to better serve its customers, particularly those customers in need of parts that have been difficult to provide through traditional supply chain models, such as those for older trucks or parts with very low or intermittent demand.”

The company said parts to be printed include nameplates, map pockets, and plastic covers. All 3D printed parts would be stored in DTNA’s digital warehouse for ordering. Typically, the parts ordering process can take 2 to 4 weeks, but once the pilot program is fully operational, parts will be printed upon order and shipped within day, DTNA noted.

The company will solicit feedback from customers on the parts and service as well as collect data on parts performance to assess future demand for 3D printed parts.

“Over the past 5 years, DTNA has made significant financial and intellectual investments in the supply chain network in order to deliver parts to our customers faster than ever before,” said Jay Johnson, general manager, aftermarket supply chain, Daimler Trucks North America. “The addition of three new PDCs coupled with dedicated delivery service puts us on the path toward achieving this objective. We realize that we must continue to innovate and we will invest in new processes including 3D printing. What DTNA is launching today with 3D printing is only the beginning as we continue to develop this technology in our quest to be the benchmark for parts availability.”

DTNA has partnered with 3D printing service bureau, Technology House, which has over 20 years of experience in additive manufacturing. The first parts available to customers are made with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The SLS process refers to layering powder in a print chamber and then “selectively” melting a pattern with lasers before adding the next layer, DTNA explained.

All 3D printed parts have been validated to meet durability requirements and many will appear no different to the untrained eye.

Did you know?

FTR reported preliminary Class 8 orders for November came in at 32,400 units, 8% off October’s number but 71% above November 2016. ACT Research said that Class 5-7 orders were 20,100 units, 15% above November 2016.

Quotable:

“After experiencing this problem in two prior years, and having had to apologize and compensate customers for service failures in 2015 and 2016, I would have assumed that you would have hired a sufficient number of seasonal employees and/or trained enough regular employees to provide the services to your customers to avoid similar problems this year. Instead, you have apparently failed to manage your business again and are content to shift the burden and responsibility for making deliveries to your already overworked employees.”

- James P. Hoffa, Teamsters president, to David Abney, UPS CEO, on UPS’s decision to require package drivers to work 70-hours over eight days during the holidays

In other news:

Daseke acquires 3 fleets

The nation’s largest flatbed carrier, Daseke, has acquired three companies aims at gaining access to higher-margin freight. (Reuters)

McLeod Software moving headquarters

McLeod Software announced that it has purchased a new building and will move its corporate its headquarters to Hoover, AL. (AL.com)

China unveils electric cargo ship

China has unveiled an all-electric cargo ship that will haul up to 2,200 tons of coal about 50 miles on a single charge. (Clean Technica)

AI usage grows in logistics

Artificial intelligence’s usage in the supply chain has been growing, but more companies are racing to incorporate into demand planning solutions. (Logistics Viewpoints)

UPS boosts package driver’s hours

To meet holiday demand, UPS is increasing the workweek for package delivery drivers to 70 hours over an eight-day period. (DC Velocity)

Final Thoughts

Class 8 truck orders continued to remain strong in November, topping 30,000 units according to both ACT Research and FTR. In addition, Class 5-7 vehicles also showed strength, continuing above 20,000 units. The question remains how long will this trend continue?  

Hammer down everyone!

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