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UPS to Launch On-Demand 3D Printing Manufacturing Network

UPS will launch a distributed, on-demand manufacturing network that links its global logistics network with 3D printers at The UPS Store in more than 60 U.S. locations with the Fast Radius’ On Demand Production Platform™ and 3D printing factory in Louisville, KY. The integration into one additive manufacturing and logistics solution, slated to occur in Summer 2016, will make 3D printing accessible to more potential users, enabling them to realize the convenience and cost-savings this technology offers.

Customers will visit the Fast Radius website (formerly CloudDDM) to place 3D printing orders, which will be directed to the optimal manufacturing or The UPS Store location based on speed, geography and the product quality the customer requires. Orders may be shipped as early as same day. While participating UPS Store locations are all located in the U.S., companies globally could utilize the network and place orders.

SAP also announced an agreement with UPS to create an end-to-end industrial solution. SAP’s extended supply chain solutions will be integrated with UPS’s on-demand manufacturing solution and global logistics network to simplify the industrial manufacturing process from digitization, certification, order-to-manufacturing and delivery.

By integrating SAP’s extended supply chain software with the UPS additive manufacturing solution and logistics network, manufacturing companies of all sizes will be able to access on-demand industrial manufacturing with the touch of a button. 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 on-demand network created will benefit customers of all sizes:

• Manufacturers wanting 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
• Manufacturers and retailers of custom/semi-custom goods as additive manufacturing allows cost-effective customization of goods
• Industrial designers and engineers who want high quality rapid prototypes delivered as fast as one day
• Entrepreneurs, start-ups and manufacturers that don’t currently have access to 3D printers or have limited capital and time and will use 3D printing for rapid prototyping and manufacturing of initial production runs

Source: UPS

UPS Director of Healthcare Marketing, Robin Hooker, recently spoke to BONEZONE about some of the technologies that could impact the orthopaedic supply chain. Specifically, he called out the development of “cold chain” needs, temperature sensitive implants, likely utilizing some form of orthobiologics.

“That means more risk mitigation and higher value. You could dramatically increase the cost of implants when they’re infused with something that is not frozen and not ambient, but must be maintained in a two to eight degree temperature range,” he said. “That can be complex, because you have a high/low bandwidth and there’s not a lot of room in between. If there’s an excursion above or below…we’re all familiar with implant recall commercials and things that have gone wrong.”

To read more about cold chain technologies and other supply chain upgrades, click here.