Panalpina and the U.S. based 3D printing company Shapeways have entered into a strategic partnership which will enable both companies to expand their digital manufacturing capabilities globally. Panalpina sees digital manufacturing and 3D printing specifically as a perfect complement to its Logistics Manufacturing Services (LMS) offering, giving customers the possibility to customize products and bring production closer to consumer demand.
“3D printing is one of the most exciting frontiers of digital transformation,” says Mike Wilson, Panalpina’s global head of Logistics. “It stands for the convergence of the real with the virtual world – and it has the potential to dramatically change the traditional manufacturing and logistics industries.”
Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen concurs: “As manufacturing moves from analog to digital, everything we know about product creation will change. Our community the world over is leveraging access to digital manufacturing from our platform to bring thousands of new products to life every day.”
While the technology for 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has been around for decades, its recent surge in popularity makes perfect sense in the context of current major manufacturing trends. On the one hand, shorter product life cycles, the rise in digital purchasing and the higher speed to get products to market, means that production is moving away from centralized manufacturing to a more distributed model. On the other hand, customers are demanding more customized and personalized products and have the ability to influence the product design. “3D printing is ideal for bringing production closer to the end user and aiding in mass personalization,” explains Wilson.
Shapeways, established in 2007, is the world’s leading maker platform powered by digital manufacturing. Shapeways community members make products ranging from puzzles, miniature trains and smartphone cases, to drone accessories and jewelry. Shapeways enables its members to make, customize and even sell the products they design.