In a world where companies are no longer dependent on suppliers for key elements of their production line, shipping operators such as UPS are finding themselves left by the wayside. More and more companies are starting to use 3D printers to manufacture parts and components, reducing costs and speeding production time. Boeing has begun 3D printing parts for some of their airframes; they even printed a specialized part printed for a recent satellite launch.
To stay ahead of the curve, UPS recently invested in a 3D printing company, and has installed 100 industrial-grade printers at their Louisville, KY headquarters. Their goal? To serve as an intermediate manufacturer that can get parts to their customers much faster than other suppliers can. By leveraging their centralized location as well as their existing logistics infrastructure, UPS can print parts, whether for final production or prototyping, and get them to customers with a vastly reduced turnaround time.