Need a New Heart? Let Me Print One for You

It is amazing to live in a generation where technology is advancing because we get to witness life-changing events right before our eyes. Recently, there has been a substantial amount of conversation about three-dimensional printing and how it will change the future because we will be able to print objects instead of psychically manufacturing them. Lately, scientists have been experimenting on printing out anything they could think of, ranging from things such as adjustable wrenches to human organs. Yes that ‘s right, a human organ. You are probably wondering how that is possible. Well you are not alone because when I first heard about 3D printing, I thought to myself, “How in the world is that possible? I can’t even imagine that.”  Then I heard about how 3-D printing had saved a baby’s life and I thought to myself, “Okay, now this is a joke.” Well, it’s not.

3D Printed Wrench

At six weeks old, a baby boy named Kaiba had stopped breathing because of a rare obstruction in his lungs called bronchial malacia; this is a condition where the cartilage in the walls of the bronchial tubes are weakened. After being revived and taken home, Kaiba’s breathing had failed on him day after day causing his parents to constantly perform CPR on him. With the hopes of Kiaba’s survival diminishing, doctors didn’t know what else to do except perform a medical experimental technique equivalent of a “Hail Mary” pass, 3-D Printing.


I can see 3-D printing becoming a process strategy within the mere future because it will be a production process that meets customer requirements and product specifications within a certain cost. In Kaiba’s case, it already has saved his life. Doctor’s had taken an x-ray of his lungs and transferred the picture to a 3-D printer to successfully duplicate a splint measuring “a few centimeters by eight millimeters.” Specifically, this would be considered a process focus strategy because creating one customized, artificial support to be surgically attached into a human requires the ability to be able to produce in low volume. Because of the low volume, doctors can then focus on producing a high variety of customized products for their customers.


Having a high degree of product flexibility and a team of experts to meet your specifications and produce your product sounds like an excellent strategy for any ordinary individual; however, one thing some people might not realize are the costs associated with it all. Creating an object that saved Kiaba’s life is a phenomenal occurrence; however, the bill following the surgery is probably not.


Do you think 3-D printing will one day become a Repetitive Focus strategy, or maybe even Product Focus Strategy?

Is this a product that meets and exceeds customer requirements, costs and managerial goals?

What do you think are the long term effects 3D printing has on efficiency, production flexibility and quality?

Going Nuclear: Building the World’s Largest Puzzle

An international nuclear fusion project, known as Iter, has been making progress by finally gaining approval for the design of a component that will be one of the most challenging to install. In a forest of Provence in the south of France, there has been the construction of a site that’s purpose will be to harness the nuclear power of the sun and stars. 34 nations have joined together in what is known to be “the biggest scientific collaboration on the planet.” If this project succeeds, then global energy demand will increase by three-fold, and it will change our world that has been struggling with the fight against climate change.

This highly complex fusion reactor will be built with about a million individual parts and each component will come from different regions built around the world. Then it will be assembled “like a giant Lego model” in a building near the site. These individual parts can get as big as small houses, and the building they’re assembling it at is equal to 81 Olympic-sized swimming pools. I already cannot imagine what it will take and has taken to bring so many countries together and decide what is going to be built where. It reminds me back to one of our first classes where we made the paper fortune tellers and how it took majority of the class to work together and complete the project.


Complexity of Iter has been proven through the length it had taken to reach the initial stages of construction. The earliest start time for this project dates back to 1985 with meetings and discussions between the nations. Today, scientists involved have claimed it will still take another ten years of building work and an extra ten years after that for testing the reactor before it can go online. If you were one of the managers on the team for this project, how would you being planning and creating a Precedence Diagram? Do you think there could be multiple critical paths in a project like this? One of my concerns about an enormous project is the time it takes to complete it. Over time, information becomes stale and the technology used becomes outdated because of the changing markets.

A critical phase of the project is injecting plasma, a super-hot electrically-charged atomic fuel, and it is scheduled for November 2020; unfortunately, because we do not live in a perfect world, there have been delays that pushed this phase back to October 2022. An unforeseen circumstance where a worker left a towel on one of the superconducting cables became compressed within the coil causing extra work by scraping off the debris left behind. I believe this is a perfect opportunity for the project managers to consider crashing this project because it is becoming behind schedule. Do you think that crashing a critical path in such a big project dealing with nuclear reactors would be a good idea to enable them to finish the project by the due date?