UPS and SAP have announced plans to launch a distributed, on-demand manufacturing network based on 3D printing that will be available through The UPS Store in more than 60 locations around the U.S.
3D printed goods will also be available through UPS' Fast Radius on-demand production platform and its 3D printing factory in Louisville, KY.
"The integration into one additive manufacturing and logistics solution this summer will make 3D printing accessible to more potential users, enabling them to realize the convenience and cost-savings this technology offers," UPS said in a statement.
Users can visit the Fast Radius website (formerly CloudDDM) to place 3D printing orders, which will be transferred to the closest 3D manufacturing or UPS Store location based on speed, geography and the product quality the customer requires.
Some orders can be completed and shipped the same day, UPS said. The service is not limited to U.S.-based customers; UPS will take orders globally.
The new service integrates SAP's extended supply chain software with UPS's 3D printing machines and logistics network, enabling "on-demand industrial manufacturing for companies of all sizes," UPS said.
"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," the company said.
The new service hopes to target several business opportunities for 3D printing including:
- Manufacturers who want to reduce inventory for slow-moving parts.
- Manufacturers with short production runs where the cost to create the mold or tooling could make these orders too expensive for traditional manufacturing.
- Industrial designers and engineers who want high-quality rapid prototypes delivered quickly.
- Entrepreneurs, start-ups and manufacturers who don't currently have access to 3D printers.
Stan Deans, president, UPS Global Distribution & Logistics, said "additive manufacturing technology is still developing rapidly so manufacturing as a service is a smart approach for many companies."