A big selling point for many 3D printing companies is their ability to simplify. Simplify manufacturing, simplify design, simplify the 3D printing process itself, etc. When 3D printing service portal 3YOURMIND introduced their one-click printing service last year, users were introduced to the ability to upload files directly from CAD data, optimize their files and order prints from their choice of any of a number of 3D printing service bureaus in a matter of minutes. Their rapid success showed that they had touched upon a service that many people desperately wanted – options without complication.
Now, 3YOURMIND has announced their intention to simplify the overall supply chain through a partnership with shipping and delivery services company Dynamic Parcel Distribution (DPD). The collaboration is the latest example of a trend that we’ve been seeing a lot of this year: that of logistics companies integrating 3D printing into their operations on a broad level. UPS has been a prime example as they’ve rolled out on-demand 3D printing services over the course of the last year.
As more businesses and individuals start owning 3D printers, the transfer of goods is beginning to take place more in the digital space and less in the physical, meaning that logistics companies need to shift the way they do business, often by aligning themselves with 3D printing services. DPD will leverage their wide-ranging delivery services to help 3YOURMIND meet the needs of customers, but both companies share a vision of 3D printing as a mobile service as well.
“3D printers are becoming more and more like small factories in terms of quality…Now consider when those production facilities are fit into a shipping container,” says 3YOURMIND. “Full production studios can be shipped on demand to the locations where they are required using the existing logistical planning networks. With advances in stabilization technology, those containers can become moving factories in the wagon of a train, a container on a truck, on a plane, producing high value custom objects while being delivered to the final destination.”
The expertise of a logistics company like DPD in resource management and delivery flow lends itself perfectly to the new digital manufacturing era, says 3YOURMIND. They envision a network of mobile additive manufacturing centers with the capability to service numerous industries, that can even be rented by manufacturing companies to boost their production flow in peak production times.
Several of 3D printing’s benefits include the reduction of inventory thanks to its on-demand manufacturing potential, as well as reduced waste because quality assessment and alterations can be performed before a part is ever printed. Those benefits in particular make a mobile 3D printing network an obvious advantage for many, 3YOURMIND continues.
“In terms of reducing inventory, mobile 3D printing opens other significant possibilities,” the company states. “Consider the case of a repair truck, responsible for servicing cars on roads and motorways. Instead of towing a broken car to the next garage to be repaired, often requiring significant wait times while parts are ordered, a mobile 3D printing unit in the truck could print a spare part directly from a library of design files or even purchase from the manufacturer allowing the car to be repaired on site. The more the cost of the production falls, the more the innovation will arrive to individuals.”
The idea makes perfect sense, and opens a lot of doors for logistics companies looking for ways to avoid falling behind in the new digital era. The collaboration between 3YOURMIND and DPD may be new, but I expect we’ll see a lot of creative solutions coming from these two companies in the future. Discuss in the 3YOURMIND DPD forum at 3DPB.com.