TNT Germany developing logistics for 3D printing era
TNT Germany is positioning itself to take advantage of an expected boom in 3D printing technology. The company says it is now seeking to discuss potential for the technology with customers, in order to develop innovative logistics processes to prepare for the 3D printing era.
The firm has set up several 3D printing stations at various logistics sites around Germany to support the consultation process.
The technology allows three-dimensional plastic objects to be “printed” from electronic files, so that items like spare parts could be manufactured locally to where engineers or other users need them.
TNT said its customers will have the opportunity to discuss the issues with its experts, and look at conceivable scenarios for how 3D printing logistics might look.
TNT Germany chief executive Willem Prinsen is “convinced” at the significance of the technology.
“In the coming years, the needs of our customers will change thanks to 3D printing,” he said. “We want to help shape this future, and are therefore already in intensive dialogue with our customers.”
TNT said it is gearing its consultation process about 3D printing to both large enterprises, who have complex supply chain requirements, and SMEs, who tend to have little access to the 3D printing technology.
In the long term, the carrier said it plans to support its German customers with their integration with 3D Printing in specific production processes.
“We expect that there will already be effective application possibilities for our customers in just a few years, for example in the field of spare parts logistics or by increasing product personalisation,” said Martin Winand, TNT Germany’s product manager for the Value Added Services 3D Printing project.