UPS has announced that, together with its partner Fast Radius, it will open a 3D printing factory in a UPS facility in Singapore by the end of this year.
The Singapore facility will be the first factory outside the U.S. to provide the on-demand 3D printing network to Asia.
UPS also will establish an Advanced Solutions team in Asia to create a Centre of Excellence that develops supply chain solutions and promotes wider applicability of 3D printing with
Businesses can use the Fast Radius On Demand Production Platform to produce industrial parts, which are expedited for delivery via UPS’s global and intra-Asia transportation network.
Technology of the future
Additive manufacturing, to give 3D-printing its industry name, creates an object by laying materials into a specific shape. It can theoretically produce almost anything, from a simple souvenir to an artificial knee joint.
UPS already offers 3D-printing services at more than 60 of its business centres in the U.S. In 2014, it bought a minority stake in additive manufacturing specialist Fast Radius, which opened a factory in Kentucky last year.
The initiative also reflects the significance of 3D-printing as a disruptive technology to manufacturing and logistics industries.
Less storage, reduced costs
"There are at least two benefits. First, the virtualisation of inventories. If you don't need a part immediately, you can put (the data) on the cloud and print it later," said UPS Asia-Pacific president Ross McCullough. "This means companies will need less physical space to store their inventories."
Mr Rick Smith, co-founder and chief executive of Fast Radius, said the ability of on-demand 3D- printing to produce objects whenever a customer wants, and at any number required, can also cut down cost and remove the need for mass production in traditional manufacturing.
Nol van Fenema