Jan 27, 2017 | By Tess

Japanese logistics and transport company Yamato Holdings has announced it will be establishing its own 3D printing center, which will offer clients a faster solution for ordering industrial and medical 3D printed goods. Similar to UPS’s recent move towards 3D printing in the U.S., Yamato has branched out with a contract manufacturing business in the hopes of both expanding its business and cutting down manufacturing and delivery times for customers.

According to the Tokyo-based company, it has installed a fleet of USA-made industrial 3D printers at its Haneda Chronogate fulfillment center in Tokyo. As soon as next month, Yamato will be offering its 3D printing services primarily for the manufacturing of medical products and devices. 3D printed medical products, which can be easily customized to patients, are usually of a time-sensitive manner, so Yamato estimates it can cut down on production and delivery times by half compared to other additive manufacturing services.

Essentially cutting out the middle man, Yamato says it is equipped to receive patient-specific data from medical institutions, and can then 3D print the model and have it shipped and delivered within about three days. Other specialized additive manufacturing companies which offer a similar service usually take 7 to 10 days to deliver, said Yamato.

Yamato's Haneda Chronogate center

For now, the company will focus primarily on manufacturing medical products, though it does plan to eventually expand its services to more general small-batch production and prototyping in coming years. By 2025, the company expects it can expand its services to reach annual sales of roughly 10 billion yen (~$87 million).

As a logistics and transportation company, Yamato Holdings is not alone in its exploration of 3D printing technologies. As mentioned, American company UPS has been a forerunner in the adoption of 3D printing technologies and services. As early as 2013, the company was investigating the potential of establishing in-store 3D printing services. Since then, the company has teamed up with German software developer SAP to set up a USA-wide on-demand 3D printing network, and recently announced it would be expanding these services within Europe and Asia.

The move towards 3D printing services, at least in Yamato’s case, is a clear sign of wanting to diversify its business and make it more profitable through more “upstream” offerings. Founded in 1919 in Ginzo, Tokyo, Yamato Holdings is Japan’s largest door-to-door delivery service.



Posted in 3D Printing Service



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