3D printing has come a long way and has had monumental advances in the last several years. You can start to see how much of an impact it is making for businesses and companies of all sizes and industries.
For example, UPS is a large worldwide shipping company that has started using 3D printing to their advantage. Currently, UPS offers 3D printing in nearly 100 of their retail locations around the country, with more on the way. They are the first to offer 3D printing to walk-in customers, businesses, entrepreneurs, students, and hobbyists alike, by printing their parts at their existing store locations with an option for shipping. Talk about accessibility! They have all of their locations that offer 3D printing listed on their UPS website, with more locations being added every year.
I visited one specific UPS Store in San Diego, California and witnessed firsthand the effect 3D printing had at the store. The price of making certain products ranges from $15 for simple jobs to $500 for complicated prototypes to $1300 for complex jobs for large corporations. This particular location had so much success with the first desktop printer they offered, the Stratasys uPrint, they added a Stratasys Fortus 250mc in order to meet the demand and print capabilities they were receiving from their customers’ varied needs.
HOW IT WORKS
1. A customer can email the STL file of their part to the UPS store manager who is quite CAD savvy, or they can bring in a flash drive to load the STL file on site.
2. Then, if needed, changes can be made to the design and reprinted on site.
The need for oversees prototyping and paper change orders is quickly diminishing. Accessibility and commonplace usage of 3D printing are making significant advancements. This will eventually lead to the overall cost efficiency.
This innovative business decision to offer 3D printing at existing store locations offers: solutions, accessibility, convenience, and new business! But UPS hasn’t stopped there. Their industry leading tactics have them creating a fully-automated 3D printing factory at their UPS hub in Louisville, Kentucky. You can read that article here.