As the first logistics provider we now offer a comprehensive 3D-print service via our eSchenker portal. Medical equipment of stainless steel, robot parts of plastic and customer specific packing material are some of the products which can be printed.
‘We wish to utilize the potential in the technology and accommodate a growing demand from our customers’ tells Jochen Thewes, CEO for Schenker AG.
The growing demand for 3D-services is found in all industry sections and pertains primarily to spare parts and specialized products produced in small batches.
Digital business model geared for the future
At DB Schenker, we organize the printing and delivery via our data platform, but currently we have no printers. Instead we are used a digital business model within a partner network with both newly established and established businesses.
This means, that all customers can easily go in and upload a 3D template in our booking platform eSchenker where you select material and color, determine the price and book the order – and we subsequently deliver to the address you specify, which can be anywhere in the world.
The solution will be developed as we go
Together with Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, DB Schenker Enterprise Lab in Dortmund has been analyzing the possibilities and results of 3D printing since 2015 – and is far from done.
The next step is already planned which is to add titanium and various combinations of materials to the options. Presently aluminum, stainless steel and plastic is used for printing.
‘3D-printing can be an alternative to transport of product in certain cases. As the world’s first logistics provider we are aiming to take advantage of the potential in this technology with an innovative offer to our customers’, says Jochen Thewes.
A 3D printer works primarily as a regular printer with an added dimension. A movable bottom plate is the x-axis while the print head moves in the y- and z- lanes. Different materials are used in different printers depending on the application. Polymers are common as are metals and textiles, but also human tissue and food products are examples of printable product. 3D-printers have the advantage of being able to produce complex products in one piece and leaves minimal material waste compared to conventional methods of production.