BASEL, Switz.–Swiss forwarding giant Panalpina and the US-based 3D printing company Shapeways are partnering to enable both companies to expand their digital manufacturing capabilities globally.
“3D printing is one of the most exciting frontiers of digital transformation. 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,” said the Swiss group’s global head of logistics, Mike Wilson.
“3D printing is ideal for bringing production closer to the end user and aiding in mass personalisation,” he added.
Established in 2007, Shapeways ‘community members’ manufacture products ranging from puzzles, miniature trains and smartphone cases, to drone accessories and jewellery using high-end 3D printers in 56 different materials, according to Lloyd’s Loading List.
Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen said Panalpina “is ideally suited to assist with the final steps in the manufacturing process including last-mile delivery. In addition, they are investing in their own 3D printing research and capabilities. This demonstrates how committed and serious Panalpina is about the technology, making them an ideal partner for us.”
Panalpina recently launched two joint research projects with Cardiff University (UK), where the company aims to identify the products that could be switched from traditional to new, additive manufacturing techniques and also the impact these techniques will have on future supply chains.
In October last year, Panalpina invested in its first 3D printer to get an understanding of how the technology works as a complement to its logistics manufacturing services (LMS) offering.