The Atlanta-based transport and logistics giant says customers can improve supply chain efficiency by printing three-dimensional parts near their ultimate destination instead of shipping them from a central DC, and even by moving some of their inventory out of the warehouse entirely and storing it as a digital file.
The Singapore location will enable UPS customers to submit 3-D printing orders by 5 p.m. and have them delivered to their customers in most major Asian cities within 24 hours, the company says. UPS is pitching the service to users in the automotive; high-tech; aeronautic and aviation; healthcare; and retail industries.
Users can create parts either by visiting the new facility or by placing their 3-D printing orders through the website of UPS' partner, Fast Radius LLC. UPS has also partnered with German software vendor SAP SE to provide business applications that help users decide which parts are appropriate for printing, based on business variables such as the costs of creating digital designs, certifying part quality, and tax and shipping fees.
"3-D printing will have a significant impact on industrial manufacturing and 21st Century supply chains," said Ross McCullough, president of UPS' Asia-Pacific region. "We believe that, much like ecommerce digitized and transformed retail, 3-D printing will have a similar impact on manufacturing."
UPS launched a 3-D printing pilot program in 2013 with six locations, and expanded that to about 60 The UPS Store retail storefronts in the U.S. in May, with plans to open 40 more sites.
UPS is strengthening its 3-D printing capabilities as companies seek to reduce inventories of slow-moving parts and to cut the cost of producing customized goods and prototypes.