Back in May, we reported on the launch of a startup called CloudDDM. They had just launched a huge factory with 100 3D printers and just 3 employees at the UPS Worldwide Hub, UPS Worldport, with plans of eventually expanding to as many as 1000 3D printers. With special automation systems, this looked to be a factory of the future.
Today, CloudDDM, a company which also happens to have the financial backing of UPS, through the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, looks to take things a step further. They have announced another first within the 3D printing industry. They are now shipping 3D printed parts out the very same day an order is placed. This is quite groundbreaking for an industry already lauded for vastly improving the speed of product prototyping.
“For product designers and manufacturers, the success or failure of a project can come down to how quickly they can get their prototypes and end-use parts produced, and delivered,” explained CloudDDM Cofounder and CEO, Mitch Free. “CloudDDM has started offering same-day shipping in an effort to provide customers with the responsiveness they need to stay competitive, meet critical deadlines, and get products to market faster.”
While previously lead times for 3D printing services have typically been between 6-12 days, the idea of sending a 3D model to be printed, and then having it shipped out that very same day, could be an extremely useful and efficient service for many small to large companies. Whether it is in the rapid prototyping of parts or even the creation of one-off custom end-use products, the service could be of benefit to many companies and individuals.
All of this is made possible because of the partnership that CloudDDM has with UPS. UPS Worldport is located at the Louisville International Airport in Louisville, Kentucky, and it is the world’s largest fully automated packaging-handling facility, with the ability to process close to 1/2 million packages per hour.
“Every aspect of our digital factory was designed for speed,” Free explained. “First, from the moment a user submits a print job to our automated production system the priority (or desired lead-time) is checked against our production queue. Orders specified as one business day are automatically routed to the front of the queue and begin printing immediately. Once printed, our automated system routes the part(s) throughout the rest of the process from finishing to packaging and shipment. For shipping, our factory is plugged directly into the logistics system at UPS Worldport, which not only allows us to quickly move from printer to plane, it also gives us an extra six hours of production time per day. As a result, most small part orders and low volume production runs can be shipped same-day.”
CloudDDM currently is capable of 3D printing parts out of ABS, Polycarbonate-ABS, Polycarbonate, and ULTEM 1010. They also offer many color options and even post-processing finishes, to choose from. While they are now offering same-day shipping, that’s not the only option to choose from. They also offer other options with longer lead-times for those individuals and companies who can sacrifice time for a more affordable price.
“Our strategic relationship with UPS is really beginning to expand our value to industry,” says Free. “With same-day shipping, CloudDDM is demonstrating the unique benefits of industrial scale additive manufacturing and helping customers not only transform the ‘how’ of bringing products to market, but the ‘how-fast’.”
What do you think about this latest announcement by CloudDDM? Do you think you will utilize their same-day service anytime in the near future? Discuss in the CloudDDM forum thread on 3DPB.com.