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SAP And UPS Offer ‘On Demand’ 3D Printing

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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SAP and UPS combine software and logistics to let customers order parts instantly – if it’s cheaper than traditional manufacturing

SAP and UPS are working together to deliver an ‘on-demand’ 3D printing service that links the former’s supply chain software with the latter’s industrial manufacturing and logistics networks.

Customers will be able to approve and order custom 3D printed parts directly from within SAP software, which will then be manufactured at one of 60 UPS facilities cross the US. In most cases, parts ordered before 18:00 can be delivered by the next day.

SAP’s software will automatically determine whether a 3D printed part is more economically efficient than traditional manufacturing through real time analysis of data such as shipping costs and materials. Once ordered, customers can track their order directly from within SAP.

SAP UPS 3D printing partnership

UPS 3D printing 2It is claimed the partnership will allow companies to simplify supply chains and open up 3D printing to smaller companies without access to a machine, those who cannot justify a long production run or those who need a prototype made quickly.

“Technology innovations such as 3D printing are revolutionizing traditional manufacturing and redefine our notion of the industrial supply chain,” said SAP’s Bernd Leukert. “By bringing together the on-demand manufacturing and logistics expertise of UPS and the extended supply chain leadership of SAP, we can enable direct digital manufacturing and an on-demand industrial manufacturing network that connects from manufacturing floor to the customer door.”

“This agreement with SAP adds an important UPS capability to help customers right-size inventories and lower short-run production costs, and help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life faster than ever,” added Stan Deans, president of UPS Global Distribution and Logistics.

3D printing has come down in price in recent years with analysts predicting the technology will become more mainstream. Makerbot has targeted small and medium businesses, while HP’s recently announced 3D Jet Fusion range is looking at bigger firms, costing between £94,000 and £114,000 per unit.

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