CloudDDM Gives Boost to 3D Printing Supply Chain – Opens 100-Printer Factory in Louisville

CloudDDM is disrupting the 3D printing industry by setting up a 100-printer factory in UPS’ worldwide supply chain solutions campus in Louisville, Kentucky.

A leader in additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it’s more commonly known, CloudDDM is currently operating the high-tech 3D printers running 24 hours, 7 days a week in the Louisville campus. CloudDDM’s founder Mitch Free said the factory has just 3 employees – one for each of the 8-hour shifts throughout the day. UPS handles packaging and shipping of parts and prototypes created using CloudDDM. Free said the facility can turn around orders that typically take a week to complete in 24 hours.

“We offer a strong value proposition to design teams who need to iterate quickly, those who produce products in low volume, those who want to customize products on demand as well as the spare parts replacement market,” Free said. “Our customers require high-quality parts with structural integrity, the consumer-grade 3D printers would not be adequate for their needs. Further, our customers trust us to make sure their proprietary data and the details of their next generation product are secure.”

Using CloudDDM allows designers, engineers and companies to leverage the benefits of industrial additive manufacturing, while reducing upfront production costs, managing stock and inventory and accelerating product development.

UPS has taken a minority stake in CloudDDM through the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund and Free has invested over $1 million of his own money in the Louisville campus.

Free said CloudDDM is currently accepting STL files, the closest thing there is to a standard among 3D printing file formats, but will be adding solid modeling and other formats in the following months.

Office furniture manufacturer Humanscale and Stratos Aircraft are already CloudDDM customers that signed up during the testing phase of the startup.

Free said CloudDDM is looking for any customer that wants to design great products but might not be as interested in investing heavily in the industrial 3D printing/additive manufacturing technology.

The logistics agreement with UPS is another advantage for CloudDDM.

“CloudDDM can ship parts within 24 hours – it’s just about as fast as if you had your own 3D printer, but without the hassle,” Free said. “I think there in an analogy from the printing industry that could apply. Everyone has a high-quality color printer in their office today, but when you want you corporate brochure or annual report printed, you outsource that to someone with the right equipment for the job.”

While it makes sense to have an inkjet printer in your office to proof your design, it wouldn’t make sense to have a Heidelberg press in your office, Free said.

“Most product companies will have a few 3D printers in-house for rough concept models, but for scale and higher quality they will outsource it,” Free said. “Our printers are purpose-built and not commercially available. They are higher quality and more efficient than anything we have seen on the market. Of course, we will only improve on them from here.”

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