UPS says it will put 3-D printers in nearly 100 more stores as it seeks to lure small businesses.
United Parcel Service Inc. said Monday that it has been testing the printers at six stores. The company said they have been used by businesses, inventors and artists to make architectural models, prototypes and other items.
UPS hopes to convince consumers that it would be easier to use a 3-D printer at one of its stores than to buy and set up a machine at home.
The shipping company's announcement on the 3-D shipping expansion is below:
Following the successful launch of 3D print in six markets across the country, The UPS Store® is expanding 3D printing services to meet the growing demands of its small business customers to nearly 100 additional locations nationwide.
As the first nationwide retailer to offer 3D printing services in-store, in collaboration with Stratasys, The UPS Store continues to evolve its services to better meet the needs of small business owners. Over the past year, the six locations saw demand for 3D print continuing to increase across a broad spectrum of customers. This upward trend is in line with the 3D print industry, which also experienced rapid growth. In fact, the 3D print service provider sector increased by 21 percent last year, according to The Wohlers Report 2014.
During the 2013 pilot program, the 3D print services were used by small businesses, startups, inventors, artists and a wide range of professionals to transform their ideas into reality. From inventors who patented innovative product designs to entrepreneurs who prototyped an idea and successfully delivered a retail-ready product to market, there were many success stories. Watch this 3D print video to meet a few of them.
"We are committed to offering small business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers high-tech solutions in order to assist with all of their business needs," said Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store. "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 UPS Store is kicking off this expansion by designating Sept. 22-26 as its first annual 3D Print Week - #3DPrintWeek. Now small business owners and consumers across the country will have access to top-notch 3D printing at a much higher quality than an at-home 3D printer could provide â conveniently located at participating The UPS Store centers across the country.
The Stratasys uPrint SE Plus, selected by The UPS Store, is a professional grade 3D printer designed to accurately and reliably produce complex engineering parts, prototypes, and one of a kind objects. The heated build chamber and soluble supports allow entrepreneurs, engineers, home inventors and makers to produce parts true to their designs.
"There are significant differences between home 3D printers and professional 3D printers," said Daniel Remba, small business technology leader at The UPS Store. "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."
The UPS Store and Stratasys will join forces to host a Twitter chat titled "How 3D print can help your small business" on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. EST/ 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. PST. The chat can be followed using the hashtag, #3DPrintWeek. Small business owners can get their 3D print uestions answered by experts including Daniel Remba, small business technology leader for @TheUPSStore; Mark Skokut, senior application engineer @Stratasys and Brian Moran, small business expert @BrianMoran.
A full list of The UPS Store locations offering 3D printing can be found at www.theupsstore.com/3dprinting.
The shares fell $1.18, or 1.2 percent, to $98.26 in midday trading. They started the day down 5 percent in 2014.