Made on Demand: Scupper Plug

Ivaldi provides replacement parts on-demand for OEMs and equipment operators. The traditional supply chain is dependent on a centralized physical inventory and a distribution network. This results in a total cost of ownership that is more than double the cost of the original part.

We are turning a hardware problem into a software and services solution.

Through a unique selection, digitization, and documentation process, every Ivaldi part goes through a quality controlled, physical, and algorithmic verification process. All necessary documentation relating to the manufacturing, design, and performance requirements of each part are gathered in a performance envelope. 

Our digital warehouse offers thousands of parts. Scupper plugs are some of the most interesting products in the maritime industry. There are numerous scupper plugs on a vessel. For convenience and readiness, each drainage hole on the open deck has its own scupper plug. Scupper plugs are used for closing drainage holes to prevent oil spills or other contaminant spills in a ship.

Broken Scupper Plugs

Describe the part. How is it used? How is it currently manufactured?

A scupper plug is a widespread tool used to close drainage holes on open decks. They all have different designs, but they all have an expandable element, which plugs the hole. Classical scupper plugs have brass tops and bottom discs, squeezing rubber elements with the screw and nut. They are very reliable mechanisms.

What are some of the challenges in sourcing this part today?

Conventional scupper plugs are expensive and an easy target for thieves. The brass components can be quickly sold on the black market in many parts of the world. The rubber element is prone to aging and requires frequent replacing. Even though all of them look the same on the outside, small differences between manufacturers may make them not interchangeable.

There are numerous plastic versions of scupper plugs available on the market, manufactured using injection molding. Unlike more traditional units, they do not have standard dimensions, and if any element breaks, there are no replacement parts readily available. Therefore, the whole unit will have to be replaced. 

How would this part benefit from a digital warehouse and manufacturing solution?

3D printed scupper plugs are as functional as traditional versions. Making them available through a digital warehousing solution means they are faster and easier to procure worldwide. It also means, thanks to on-demand manufacturing technologies, that only the exact number of parts required are produced, reducing costs and environmental footprint.

What are some of the technical challenges in digitizing and manufacturing this part?

All the elements of the part had to be redesigned. The biggest challenge was making the insert expand without collapsing. Scupper plugs are built differently depending on size, but a combination of 3D printed and readily available standard hardware parts makes sourcing easy.

How do you see the future of additive manufacturing?

More and more parts will be manufactured with 3D printing, including: custom parts, parts where other technologies are more expensive or can’t be used at all, parts that require complex inventory and inconvenient transportation, and new parts that we can only make with 3D printing.

About Joanna Carbajal 
Project Manager

Joanna has over two years of agile project management experience. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, and she uses her knowledge to manage all of Ivaldi’s projects by level of priority. She removes impediments, facilitates all meetings, trains employees on agile project management and ensures there is documentation at every stage. She is directly responsible for 3 employees and finds opportunity for growth.

Apart from being a Project Manager, Joanna is involved with all of Ivaldi’s marketing efforts including managing all of our social media platforms. Her previous marketing experience in consumer packaged goods, financial planning, power generation and heavy construction equipment.

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