Global package delivery company UPS announced on Tuesday that it plans to expand its 3D printing service to nearly 100 centers across the United States, after its successful launch in six markets. The aim is to better supply the needs of small business owners, inventors, engineers and start-ups.
In its six initial locations, UPS said demand for 3D printing expanded rapidly across a broad spectrum of customers.
According to The Wohlers Report 2014, 3D printing as a business grew by 21% in 2013. The report gathered and analyzed data from 24 different countries, 82 services providers and 29 system manufacturers.
UPS says that during last year’s pilot program, 3D print services were used by a wide range of customers, including professionals, artists, inventors, start-ups, and small enterprises.
Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store, said:
“We are committed to offering small business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers high-tech solutions in order to assist with all of their business needs. We launched the pilot to evaluate if there was demand for 3D print and we’re excited to be announcing an expansion, giving even more small business owners access to high-quality, professional 3D printing. We look forward to being a part of the future of the 3D printing industry.”
The Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer (Photo: Stratasys)
UPS is designating September 22nd to 26th as its first annual 3D Print Week – #3DPrintWeek. The company says its 3D printer – the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus – is a much higher quality device than any at-home 3D printer.
The Stratasys printer is designed to reliably and accurately produce “complex engineering parts, prototypes, and one-of-a-kind objects.” Home inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs are able to produce parts true to their designs, the company says.
Daniel Remba, small business technology leader at The UPS Store, said:
“There are significant differences between home 3D printers and professional 3D printers. Many of the challenging and time consuming steps used to prepare a simpler printer are fully automated on the uPrint SE Plus, leading to added precision and reliability, higher print quality and a success rate that is unmatched by a home printer.”
On this web page, you can find a UPS Store offering 3D printing near you.
3D printing involves ‘printing’ one layer at a time until the device has completed the three-dimensional object. Eventually, experts say, we will be able to 3D print virtually anything.