Publish Date: June 20, 2019
Author: Seubert
Tags: Blog - SeubertU

Risks of 3D Printers to Supply Chains

3D Printing and Your Supply Chain

At one time, the concept of 3D printing may have seemed like science fiction. These days, however, the technology is revolutionizing how companies across a variety of industries—including engineering, medical, biotechnology, education and manufacturing—are able to design, develop and distribute their products. While this technology has the potential to supplement multiple areas of your company’s supply chain process, they are not without risk.

The following list of risks is not exhaustive, but does highlight some of the risks your organization could encounter:

  • Design and intellectual property infringement: A company or individual could acquire unlicensed versions of your company’s design files and produce their own copies. Or, a company or individual could replicate one of your company’s licensed designs and produce their own copies with a 3D printer.
  • Quality of the raw printing materials: Depending on the quality or type of raw printing materials, the product could be flawed and unsafe.
  • Brand reputation: If the 3D printer is calibrated incorrectly or if the raw printing material is of poor quality, your company may risk distributing defective materials and/or products, which could then damage your company’s reputation.
  • Unclear supply chain network: 3D printers used within your supply chain could make it difficult to discern the origin and quality of the materials and/or products, exposing you to regulatory risks.    
  • Product liability: If a 3D printed product that your company produced and distributed failed, and caused an individual to sustain injuries, you may be held liable.
  • Fire damage caused by the heat generated from the machine: While the 3D printer completes its task, it could become very hot, creating a potential fire hazard.

 Learn more about the impact of 3D printing and download the full edition of this Manufacturing Risk Insights Newsletter

For more information on improving and protecting your supply chain, contact us today: 412-734-4900 or [email protected]