Vedanta and Markforged collaborate to revolutionize the metal and mining industry with 3D printed parts to overcome the supply chain gaps.
The collaboration will help to improve the supply chain response with help of composite 3D printed parts.
Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited, is one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas and Metals company with significant operations in Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Steel, and Aluminium & Power across India, South Africa, Namibia, and Australia. For two decades, Vedanta has been contributing significantly to India’s nation building. Governance and sustainable development are at the core of Vedanta’s strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety, and environment. Vedanta has put in place a comprehensive framework dedicating itself to the highest ESG standards to emerge as leaders in this space. It is among the 24 Indian companies who are signatories to the ‘Declaration of the Private Sector on Climate Change’ and is committed to decarbonizing its operations by 2050 or sooner and has pledged $ 5 billion over the next ten years to accelerate the transition to net zero operations.
Vedanta Aluminium Business, a part of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of Aluminium, producing almost half of India’s aluminium or 1.96 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in FY21. Vedanta is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. With its worldclass Aluminium Smelters, Alumina Refinery and Power Plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.
Supply Chain Challenges
Metal and mining operations are predominately businesses located in remote environments away from traditional supply chains, requiring a broad array of inputs. Given the rigorous conditions in which the equipment’s are used, spare parts or replacement parts are needed at high frequency. This leads to metal and mining companies having large inventories for replacement parts and long lead times for spare parts with huge bearings in operational downtime and economic impact due to this situation. As a front-runner in technology innovations, Vedanta Limited was looking at radically redefining some of the persistent supply chain issues at its metal and mining sites with immediate effect to improve operational efficiency. Coupling seal used in the Forklift Assembly needed frequent replacement within 3 months due to the friction in the fluid coupling kit and a Seal Kit in the Auto Bath Grinding machine had to be replaced in short time due to which the bath sampling in potline was getting delayed. Both these parts for the forklift and the auto bath grinding machine were being imported and came with high cost considering the small-batch quantities ordered. The downtime in the case of Auto Bath grinding machine was critical with almost 45 days of lead time. Spare parts were difficult to source as the machinery being used was old with OEMs out of business and further most of the spare part were obsolete with no supply chain for replacement.
Bridging the SCM gap with 3D printing
In line with its ESG mission statement, ‘Transforming for Good’, Vedanta sought to implement a sustainable disruptive technology to address such nagging supply chain issues once for all. After in-depth analysis of best suited alternative for imported spare parts, Markforged Additive Manufacturing Technology was identified as a suitable partner and was implemented on-site to support the spare part requirements.
Seal Kit of Auto Bath Grinding Machine
3D Printed Fluid Coupling Kit for Forklift
The Future – Ability to print Spare parts on-demand
With the transition to Markforged 3D printers in the overall production process, Vedanta, can now focus on quick turnaround time, reduced cost and durability as 3-4 months of downtime has been bridged to a few hours, thereby ensuring a winning proposition.
Going forward this initiative is a huge step towards enabling timely and cost-effective mobilization or the Metal and Mining industry as it will make supply-chain of critical spares more seamless with 3D printed spare parts while significantly reducing the downtime of the machines.
On-ground owing to their superior quality, a true trademark of Markforged, the machines have been functioning for longer duration in a smooth manner. Operationally, this has been a boon for the Metal and Mining industry in India as it pitches the domestic manufacturers on par with international players who had a monopoly on the production of such critical spare parts at their own convenience.
India’s key role in Additive Manufacturing has been redefined with such cases across various applications.
‘In a dynamic world, where everything must work seamlessly, Markforged 3D printed Spare parts have been an excellent example of wear resistance, tensile strength and durability” shares Mr. Bibhudatta Mohanty, Head of Innovation Cell, Vedanta Limited. “This has not only reduced the downtime significantly from few months to only a couple of hours but has also resulted in significant savings per annum. Time is precious and we are grateful to the innovations by Markforged that have made this possible.”