Manufacturing Resilience during the Coronavirus Pandemic: On the investigation Manufacturing Processes Agility
The unprecedented events that worldwide population experienced during year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in the formation of numerous challenges across the majority of aspects of every day life. Manufacturing industries and supply chain networks faced a unique decostruction during this period due to restrictions created by global or local lockdowns. Reduction of human resources availability and transportation restrictions linked with the extreme and rapid increase of demand for medical supplies led manufactring related activities to reach their limits. Moreover, the non flexible manufacturing methods that are employed for the production of this type of equipment as well as the delayed delivery of products that are used as raw material at the early production stages, resulted in market shortage of medical supplies while demand constantly growing. Additive Manufacturing was used for the immediate production of plastic/metal medical equipment, taking advantage of reverse engineering, process flexibility and commercialization of printing devices. Small and large enteprises in cooperation with individuals have been organized into Local Hubs in order to reduce the transportation time and accelerate the supply of the required equipment at local hopitals until the the non flexible production lines manage to produce the desired production volume under the required production rate. This study aims to identify reasons why traditional manufacturing facilies faced such difficulties in the production of medical equipment and to propose a framework where Additive Manufacturing methods can be used for the immediate, local and low volume production of the desired product, giving time to non easily adjustable industries to initiate the mass production.
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