Did you know that the Technology Infrastructure Support Unit at the UN Global Service Centre started 3D printing in 2017?
Our service has since found many ways to add value to the supply chain using 3D printing - an additive manufacturing process. For example, in response to the shortage of personal protective equipment during the pandemic, in-house 3D printing was used to produce face shields.
After the pandemic, it will help us get highly specific spare parts that may be both urgently needed and difficult to obtain.
Why is 3D printing as a service useful to the UN?
While 3D printing as a service is available to all, it will be most beneficial to our operations in remote locations.
For example, sometimes a spare part may not be available or there may be a long lead time. With 3D printing, obtaining parts on demand will be faster, simpler and more cost-effective.
3D printing produces very little waste. Designs can be altered with relative ease and printed on demand.
An online catalogue for printing will soon be available, featuring numerous pre-tested 3D models. For items not available in the catalogue, if suitable for 3D printing, the Technology Infrastructure Support Unit (TIS) will design downloadable custom templates upon request.
As part of the broader Smart Camp initiative to enhance efficiency and sustainability in the supply chain, TIS created M-products. These customized shipping containers hold all the essential ICT equipment for rapid deployment to remote locations.
The team in Brindisi was able to build over 150 units using 3D printing to make many of the custom components for the containers.
The Service for Geospatial, Information and Telecommunications Technologies is planning to roll out 3D printing as a service along with required training in as many locations as possible.
UNISFA is already a pilot mission.
How does 3D printing as a service enhance circularity?
3D printing as a service adds value to the supply chain by cutting lead times and improving efficiency.
It also contributes to circularity by using recycled plastic for printing. It also enhances productivity and reduces transport emissions.
The Technology Infrastructure Support Unit is part of the Service for Geospatial, Information and Telecommunications Technologies at the UN Global Service Centre, Office of Supply Chain Management within the Department of Operational Support (DOS).