UPS to test 3-D printing at some stores
The company says small business owners are interested in having the new technology made available to the public.
UPS (UPS) says it will become the first nationwide retailer to test 3-D printing services in its stores -- marking a financial step forward for the nascent technology. The tests will begin in the San Diego area in the near future and will spread to additional U.S. cities.
UPS says a recent poll of small business owners, conducted by its UPS Store business service centers, showed "high interest" in making the 3-D printers available to help customers create such items as prototypes, promotional materials and artistic renderings.
"Start-ups, entrepreneurs and small business owners may not have the capital to purchase a 3-D printer on their own, but they may have a need to show prototypes to their current and potential customers," Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and small business solutions at The UPS Store, said in a press statement.
The printing was in its infancy just a couple of years ago and is still hard to find. But the technology has been found to have a wide variety of applications, from customized stents and synthetic bones for medical procedures to clothing, car parts and even food production. It has also sparked a revolution in the concept of manufacturing, as well as a huge increase in demand.
For its tests, UPS says it will use industrial-strength 3-D printers made by Stratasys (SSYS) -- printers that, compared to current home versions, can create detailed objects with greater accuracy. And by offering this state-of-the art printer, UPS envisions people coming to its stores "to produce items like engineering parts, functional prototypes, acting props, architectural models, fixtures for cameras, lights and cables."
However, it may not be too long until the 3-D printer becomes an essential piece of machinery in not only stores and businesses but homes. According to a study by researchers at Michigan Technological University, open-source 3-D printers can basically pay for themselves, by recovering material costs, in less than one year.
"For the average American consumer, 3-D printing is ready for showtime," Associate Professor Joshua Pearce, the study's co-author, told Michigan Tech News. "It would be a different kind of capitalism, where you don’t need a lot of money to create wealth for yourself or even start a business."
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Banking industry representatives say smaller lenders may not be able to handle new rules designed to make mortgages safer for consumers, which could hurt potential homebuyers. Are they right?
- Why GM, Chrysler are riding high
- Survey: Dashboard lights fail to send right message
- Can you opt out of Medicare?
- Student loan debt climbs for 5th year in a row
- Plans revived for 'floating city' of 50,000 people
- Homeowners insurance: Bountiful coverage for bad cooking
- 3 stocks for the 3-D printing revolution
- Why restaurants are adding tablets to the tables
- America's greatest export is its debt
[BRIEFING.COM] A bit of an upward thrust the last 30 minutes brought the three major indices back close to where they started the day. Thus far, however, buyers haven't been able to take total control of the action.
The Advance-Decline line is looking better from earlier, although still favors decliners at the NYSE and Nasdaq. Things look a little better on that front at the Nasdaq where decliners lead by a 13-to-12 margin.
Apple (AAPL 571.80, +6.80) ... More
More Market News
Here are some of the numbers behind the effort, plus the current dynamics at 3 industry giants.