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UPS launches on-demand 3D-printing network

What has brown done for you lately? How about on-demand manufacturing via 3D printing.

Starting this summer, UPS (Atlanta, GA) will install 3D printers at more than 60 UPS stores in locations across the United States and enable manufacturers, designers and hobbyists to place 3D printing orders and have the finished part shipped as early as the same day.

UPS announced this month that it will launch a distributed, on-demand manufacturing network that links its global logistics network with 3D printers at select UPS stores and Fast Radius’ On Demand Production Platform and 3D printing factory in Louisville, KY. For added convenience, the global package and delivery company has entered into an agreement with SAP to integrate its supply-chain software with UPS's network to “simplify the industrial manufacturing process from digitization, certification, order-to-manufacturing and delivery,” said a press release.

Customers can visit the Fast Radius website to place their 3D printing orders, which will be directed to the appropriate location based on speed, geography and desired product quality. From there it can be shipped, in some cases, on the same day.

“By integrating SAP’s extended supply-chain software with the UPS additive manufacturing solution and logistics network, manufacturing companies of all sizes will be able to access on-demand industrial manufacturing with the touch of a button,” notes UPS in the press release. SAP customers will be able to digitize and simplify the production part approval process through SAP and their orders can be seamlessly routed to UPS for production and delivery.

Customers, and particularly manufacturers, will benefit in a number of ways, according to UPS. The service will allow them to:

  • Reduce inventory for slow-moving parts;

  • enable short production runs, where mold or tooling costs are prohibitive;

  • provide cost-effective product customization;

  • and produce high-quality rapid prototypes.

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