DB Schenker is the world's first logistics service provider offering its customers an extensive 3-D printing service. Customers can now upload the 3-D template via the online portal eSchenker, select materials and color, consult prices, place orders and have the printing delivered.
At present, printing includes medical devices made from stainless steel, robot
gripper fingers made from plastic, or customized packaging material.
DB Schenker organizes the printing and delivery via its data platform. DB Schenker does not have its own printers, but uses a digital business model within a partner network of start-ups as well as established companies.
Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, the DB Schenker Enterprise Lab in Dortmund has been analyzing the opportunities and results of 3-D printing since 2015.
"The 3-D printing can be an alternative to transporting goods in certain cases. As the world's first logistics service provider, we aim to leverage the potential of this technology with an innovative offering for our customers," says Jochen Thewes, CEO of Schenker AG: "In this way, DB Schenker is able to meet growing demand from customers."
According to DB Schenker, growing customer demand for the printing service can be noted throughout all manufacturing sectors and mostly concerns the sourcing of spare or particularly rare parts. In this regard, a notable growth in demand is expected for spare parts made of metal.
Aluminum, stainless steel and plastic are currently used as materials for 3-D printing. Other materials such as titanium as well as material combinations are set to follow.