3-D printing is the latest technological feat in which companies can easily create prototypes for a design, or allows companies to create a wide variety of customizable products. While it is not yet perfected, 3-D printing is the latest advance in manufacturing and UPS wants to be a leader in the movement.
United Parcel Service (UPS) wants to emerge as a local production and delivery company. The $58 billion-a-year company invested in Cloud DDM LLC; a 3-D project run which gave UPS 100 3-D printers. Together, the two companies hope to expand by building another 900 printers and create everything from iPhone fragments to jet engine parts. UPS hopes manufacturers will use their service to create and immediately ship parts. General Electric Co and Whirlpool Corp. are two large companies that are interested in seeing how UPS can benefit them.
3-D printing would be beneficial to an appliance company like Whirlpool especially in their Research and Development department. Eengineers would be able to have a prototype of their design made and shipped within a matter of hours. This would allow the engineers and designers to work out any kinks in the project, allowing them to get the product to market faster than before. Whirlpool also turned to UPS when Whirlpools limited supply of printers was all occupied.
Amazon is seen as a fast approaching competitor as they are currently working on a 3-D printing truck which would allow for the creation of on-demand printing from inside a delivery truck. Amazon hopes to decrease time it might take UPS to get a product delivered with this system.
The two biggest constraints everyone working with 3-D printers faces are the slow printing speed and the fact that not all objects will be duplicated to full functionality. However, like all new inventions they will be perfected over time. I believe that there are many benefits to 3-D printing capabilities and UPS is helping pave the way to a world in which products are available quicker. 3-D printing has some issues that need continued work on, but has the ability to benefit many industries. While the concept seems like something from a sci-fi movie, it is important that companies figure out ways to be a part of this latest revolution.
Stevens, L. (2015, September 20). UPS Tests a 3-D Printing Service. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/ups-tests-a-3-d-printing-service-1442618648.