Those efficiencies were highlighted in a recent high-profile project. When
the Netherlands was selected for a 2016 residency by the presidency of the
Council of the European Union, DUS Architects was asked to print a custom
facade to make a building in Amsterdam’s marine district appear to be covered
in ship sails. Ms. Heinsman says the entire facade was designed, manufactured
and installed in three months. The process would have taken at least twice as
long with traditional methods, requiring a chain of construction suppliers and
significantly higher labor costs.
“The construction vendor we hired had scheduled two days to assemble the
LEARN TO CHANGE
elements, but they were done in two hours,” she says. “It was quite nice.”
And the benefit of the project can flow into another.
After the temporary residency ended on 1 July, the facade
was removed and DUS Architects shredded and then
reused the material in another 3-D printing project.
The KamerMaker facade project underscores how 3-D
printing can enable project managers to radically simplify,
or even eliminate, entire supply chains. And because
3-D printers democratize manufacturing, Mr. Gilchrist
expects some companies to pivot their business models,
opting to sell design files that end users can print on their
own rather than selling physical products.
That’s a lot of potential change on the horizon. To be
ready for it, project managers in affected industries will
need to update their skills, including developing knowledge of the software that drives 3-D printing projects. As
products become easier to replicate, they’ll also need to be
ready to work with legal teams and other internal stakeholders to create protocols for protecting printed designs,
patents and other intellectual property, Mr. Gilchrist says.
Then there are the actual materials. The success of 3-D printing projects depends in part on project managers understanding how printed
materials and products differ from conventional manufacturing, says
Kuldeep Tyagi, PMP, head of medical technology unit, Cyient, New
Delhi, India. Continual education is a must for project managers.
During an 18-month project to build a healthcare device patients
can use to take their vital signs at home, Mr. Tyagi’s team was able to
reduce manufacturing time from four months to 10 days, thanks to 3-D
printing. But doing that takes more than pressing a button. His team
researched how the properties of the printed metal they used (including
its strength, heat resistance and flexibility) stacked up to comparable
metals used in conventional manufacturing.
At right and below, DUS
to put those
to your customer.
Everything can’t be
—Kuldeep Tyagi, PMP, Cyient,
New Delhi, India