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ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING Firm places ‘prosumer printers’ in more than 60 US stores, rolls out ‘3D printing factory’ with two partners


UPS sets out to meet 3D printing customers’ needs ‘very quickly’


Brett Brune Editor in Chief


U 62


PS wants to be “one of the companies at the forefront” of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it is making strategic investments to make the


aspiration a reality. The company, which in 1907 began as


United Parcel Service and grew so familiar that people called it “Brown” because of the color of its delivery trucks, now universally uses the tagline “United Problem Solvers.” One aspect of the firm’s work over the last two years to which that tagline speaks is the setting up of 3D printing services in more than 60 stores in major population centers around the US, Charlie Chung, marketing manager for UPS’s industrial manufactur- ing segment, said recently in an address at Purdue University’s Smart, Lean Ecosystems conference in West Lafayette, IN. He called the machines “prosumer print-


ers,” saying they are bigger and faster than desktop printers with which consumers are familiar. These printers typically use ABS plastics and soluble supports. They turn out, for example, engineering parts, functional prototypes, acting props, architectural models and fixtures for cameras, lights and cables. “They are helping out many com-


panies with prototyping and engineering design and testing,” he added. On top of that investment, which UPS


declined to specify, UPS in May rolled out its first partnership with Walldorf, Germany– based SAP and Chamblee, GA-based Fast Radius–for an “automated industrial 3D printing factory” near its air hub in Louis- ville, KY.


So while the distributed “prosumer print-


ers” at UPS Stores give the company broad geographic coverage, the “3D printing fac- tory” addresses its need for “higher volume, mass-customized production,” or more industrial 3D printing processes, as well as more industrial materials like thermoplastics and metals, Chung said.


Speedy delivery is top of mind for UPS as it gets into “on-demand manufacturing,” Charlie Chung told people attending a recent smart manufacturing conference at Purdue University.


Fall 2016


Photo courtesy Rewat Fageria


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