UPS prepares to launch on-demand 3D Printing network

In a move aimed at keeping both its brick-and-mortar stores and expedited delivery services relevant in an increasingly on-demand market, UPS announced plans to integrate 3D printing services into its global logistics network. Starting this summer, customers will be able to access and utilize 3D printers installed in more than 60 UPS Stores, with additional access to Fast Radius’ 3D printing factory in Louisville, Kentucky, for larger-scale projects.UPS Store

UPS has also partnered with software solutions provider SAP in order to link existing supply-chain software with UPS’ additive manufacturing solutions. In practice, SAP customers will be able to digitize blueprints for production parts and route their order to a UPS location for printing and delivery.

“By building this disruptive technology into our supply chain models, we also bring new value to our manufacturing customers of all sizes,” said Stan Deans, president, UPS Global Distribution and Logistics.

Rather than placing an order directly through UPS’ website, customers will have their orders routed from Fast Radius’ website, (formerly CloudDDM) to the most geographically sensible printer. From the UPS Store printer, orders are then shipped according to the chosen speed of service.

Rick Smith, co-founder and CEO of Fast Radius, said, “UPS customers will be able to get their products to market faster and more cost-effectively because parts can be produced exactly in the quantity they need and when they need them.”

At present, printers are only available in the United States. However, UPS said, “Companies globally could utilize the network and place orders.”

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Charles Kauffman

Charles Kauffman is the Senior Editor of Air Cargo World Magazine, and the publication's sister newsletter, Cargo Facts. Charles holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington, and an MA in International Relations from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He speaks Mandarin and Spanish.