UPS (NYSE: UPS) today said its partner Fast Radius will open a 3D printing factory in a UPS facility in Singapore by the end of this year, expanding the UPS on-demand 3D printing network to Asia and enabling customers to increase their supply chain efficiency with additive manufacturing.
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 customers. 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.
Companies that virtualize their inventories can not only save costs by reducing the number of parts made “just-in-case” but also can produce smaller quantities cost effectively and with the same quality, in addition to minimizing lead-times because parts are produced closer to where they are needed.
UPS announced the expansion during a press event that also was attended by representatives from the Singapore Economic Development Board, Fast Radius and SAP. In May, UPS and SAP announced a co-innovation agreement to collaborate on a solution that would integrate SAP’s extended supply chain and internet of things solutions with the UPS additive manufacturing and logistics network, to “connect the manufacturing floor to the customer door.”
“3D printing will have a significant impact on industrial manufacturing and 21st Century supply chains,” said Ross McCullough, president of UPS Asia Pacific region. “At UPS, we are embracing disruptive technologies and integrating them into our global logistics network. We believe that much like ecommerce digitized and transformed retail, 3D printing will have a similar impact on manufacturing.”
“UPS is the first integrated logistics provider to establish an on-demand 3D printing manufacturing and logistics network in Asia,” McCullough added. “This network will help Asia strengthen its position as a manufacturing hub.”
“Having Fast Radius’ factory connected to UPS’s network means customers can send their 3D printing orders by 5 p.m. and have them delivered to their customers in most major Asian cities within 24 hours.”
Businesses of all sizes can use 3D printing to:
- Reduce inventory for slow-moving parts
- Lower transportation costs as goods travel digitally
- Produce less costly and shorter production runs compared to traditional manufacturing
- Prototype and manufacture initial production runs with lower capital and less time
- Customize goods in a more cost-effective manner
- Create and receive high quality rapid prototypes quickly
“UPS’s 3D printing Centre of Excellence reinforces Singapore as an innovation-driven economy,” said Michelle Ho, managing director of UPS in Singapore. “Having Fast Radius’ factory connected to UPS’s network means customers can send their 3D printing orders by 5 p.m. and have them delivered to their customers in most major Asian cities within 24 hours. The automotive, high tech, aeronautic and aviation, healthcare and retail industries have a lot of opportunity to take advantage of this type of manufacturing.”
“The decision to locate the first international on-demand 3D printing factory here is testimony to Singapore’s readiness to partner with logistics companies in creating innovative supply chain solutions. We recognize that additive manufacturing could potentially transform supply chains. We believe that deepening our capabilities in this area could further strengthen the logistics industry through business model innovation and the creation of new solutions,” said Lee Eng Keat, director of logistics, Singapore Economic Development Board.
Once the facility opens customers can place their 3D printing orders either via the Fast Radius website or by visiting the factory located at UPS House in Singapore. Fast Radius will direct the order to the optimal manufacturing location either in Singapore or the U.S. based on speed, geography and product quality requirements. UPS can ship as early as the same day. In the U.S., the 3D printing network also includes more than 60 The UPS Store® locations, providing multiple printing locations and geographic coverage.
Rick Smith, CEO of Fast Radius, said, “Our expansion into Asia in partnership with UPS is a significant step in fulfilling our vision of a globally distributed manufacturing and distribution platform serving this rapidly growing industry. Wohlers Report 2016 predicts the 3D printing industry will grow from $5.2 billion in 2015 to $26.5 billion in 2021. The report says that if 3D printing penetrates just five percent of the world manufacturing economy, it would reach $640 billion annually.”
UPS is a minority investor in Fast Radius through the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, a venture capital group focusing on developing critical partnerships and acquiring knowledge returns in technology companies and emerging market spaces.