You’ve undoubtedly seen the recent study by industry expert, Todd Grimm, documenting the impact of required post-processing after 3D printing, as reported by six global organizations. While the data cited in Todd’s report is unquestionably eye-opening in and of itself, we decided to take the analysis even further to learn the impact on organizations of delays in receiving 3D printed parts.
We conducted an analysis and comparison of the part turnaround speed and cost differences between two additive manufacturing systems: Stratasys’ Fortus, and Rize One, using actual data generously provided by a global, single-product (with numerous models) consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer who uses both systems in their additive manufacturing lab. We selected the Fortus for this comparison because CPG agreed that it is the closest comparable system to Rize One from a capability standpoint.
If you thought the conclusions of Todd’s report were shocking (and they were), the data uncovered in this analysis will make you rethink your entire process and you could very well become your company’s hero.
First, let’s look at part turnaround time. CPG outlined a few facts and averages for his company:
- He calculated that each engineer at his company works 235 days per year (260 work days per year, minus 10 holidays and 15 vacation days)
- CPG has 100 engineers, each producing an average of 12 unique concepts/ideas per year, for a total of 1,200 unique concepts/ideas per year
- Each engineer averages four iterations per idea, however keep in mind that they are up to 26 iterations for one idea
- The first iteration of a design takes five days vs. just one day for subsequent iterations
- He reported that outsourcing requires an average of five days to deliver a part for each iteration of an idea vs. two days for Fortus due to post-processing required after 3D printing to remove supports and one day for Rize, since the part is available immediately after 3D printing with the Rize One 3D printer.
CPG’s Part Delivery Time Data:
CPG discovered that, on average, completion of all four iterations of an idea takes four days less per engineer using Rize vs. Fortus (and 16 fewer days vs. outsourcing). A four-day difference in part delivery doesn’t sound impressive at first glance, but consider that it means Rize is 20% faster per idea per engineer than Fortus and enables each engineer to produce 25% more ideas/concepts than Fortus. Alternatively, it enables one additional iteration per idea per engineer in less time than it takes Fortus to complete four iterations.
Part Delivery Summary:
Now when that difference extends across CPG’s 100 engineers, each averaging 12 unique ideas per year (1,200 ideas) and each requiring an average of four iterations (4,800 parts), the time implications become evident. The part delay adds up to 48 days per year per engineer (4 day delay per idea per engineer x 12 ideas per engineer per year). For 100 engineers, that’s 4,800 total days of part delay per year. Wow!
The comparison is even more compelling when analyzing the costs of the two systems.
Initial Purchase Cost:
The initial purchase price difference is clear. At $28,850 ($34,000 including options), Rize is about one-fourth the cost of the Fortus.
But that’s only the beginning.
Often overlooked are the comprehensive, ongoing annual costs of 3D printing systems. Here’s where it gets interesting.
Consumables and maintenance agreements:
Most people remember to factor in the cost of consumables and the maintenance agreement. The Rize costs for these two line items are significantly less than Stratasys. In fact, the highest service contract for Rize ($3,600) is one-third the cost of the Stratasys service contract ($10,000+) and Stratasys consumables ($250Kg) are more than double the cost of Rize consumables ($150Kg).
The hidden costs of post-processing:
The comprehensive costs associated with post-processing are frequently overlooked, including the materials, labor and special facilities, equipment and utilities required. Since Rize is a zero-post-processing system, there are no post-post processing costs. That is not the case with Fortus. CPG spends $600 per year on the solvent in which Fortus 3D printed parts must be dipped for hours to remove the supports. Labor costs for post-processing run between $25,000-$50,000 per printer. Since CPG has six printers in addition to Rize One, their post-processing labor cost is between $150,000-$300,000 annually. However, for comparison reasons, the post-processing labor cost associated with CPG’s one Fortus is between $25,000-$50,000 per year. In terms of facility space, CPG’s additive manufacturing lab is 150 square feet. They have an additional 150 square feet of space dedicated to post-processing, amounting to approximately $4,500 per year in space needed for post processing vs. zero post-processing space needed for Rize (at $30 sq. ft. per year). Moreover, their utilities and disposal costs associated with post-processing are at least $5,000 per year.
Uncovering the true cost of part delays:
If the purchase costs, maintenance and consumables costs and post-processing costs haven’t sent you into a cold sweat, consider the cost of the delays in part delivery using Fortus vs. Rize.
What does the 4,800 days of part delay per year, and therefore, delays in time to market, cost CPG? It’s difficult to calculate specifically, but it’s fair to say it could be millions of dollars. What are these delays costing your organization?
In May of 2016, IndustryWeek Magazine interviewed a mid-sized manufacturer about this very topic. He explained that a competitor had beaten them to market with a new feature that was capturing their market share, potentially costing them $10 million in lost sales for the next year. Even if they could only regain half of the loss, every week of delay was costing them nearly $10,000 in lost profits, significant for a mid-sized company. If we apply those numbers to our CPG manufacturer, it would cost them nearly $7M in that one year. (6.85 weeks in delays for the combined 12 features per engineer per year x $10,000 per week = $68,500 x 100 engineers = $6,850,000). Of course, the cost of delays is dependent upon the value of the features, market, etc.
Fortus and Rize One Cost Comparison:
Considering all the above costs, the total annual cost of the Fortus comes to $90,100 (excluding the estimated millions incurred due to part delays) vs. $17,320 for Rize. This doesn’t even factor in the future cost implications of a competitor beating you to market farther down the line due to part delivery delays and/or sub-optimal designs due to fewer iterations. Nor does it consider the implications for companies with multiple product lines, who would see exponentially greater cost impact.
Shortly after installing and using their Rize One 3D printer, CPG assessed the part delivery time and cost of their Fortus compared to their Rize One 3D printer. As a result, they began diverting as many print jobs as possible from Fortus to Rize One. Doing so is transforming their product design and development process.
It can transform yours as well.