The Royal Mail has noticed the trend for 3D printing things
and has decided it could do with getting in
on the act. After all, if something can be made, it can also be
delivered, and when it comes to 3D-printed things, Royal Mail is
keen to be the deliverer.
The move from purely a delivery service into a more
sophisticated manufacturing and delivery service really can’t do
anything to hurt Royal Mail right now. It also shows that at the
very least, the company is aware of competing services, which don’t
just provide a service but a product too, and may well be trying to
raise its game accordingly.
At one of the Royal Mail’s central London delivery office,
customers will be ables to purchase a range of ready-to-print items
from MiniMeFactory.com and
royalmail.com/3d to have printed and delivered. Alternatively,
they can bring in their own designs to be printed.
To run the trial, Royal Mail has teamed up with iMakr, the 32
printing specialists in order to gauge customer interest in the
“3D printing is an emerging technology that has many
applications and offers an innovative way to create unique or
personalised objects,” said Royal Mail’s chief customer officer
Mike Newnham. “It can be prohibitively expensive for consumers or
small businesses to invest in a 3D printer, so we are launching a
pilot to gauge interest in 3D printing to sit alongside Royal
Mail’s e-commerce and delivery capability.”
Newnham is right in a sense — while there are increasingly 3D
printers on the market designed for home use and marketed at an
attractive price, but they are still quite expensive devices to
invest in if you’re not going to use them regularly.
The trial begins today, and it looks set to continue
indefinitely. Presumably it will end when Royal Mail has decided
whether or not this is a viable and profitable way to expand the
business, which has been recently privatised.