Amazon apply for “3D printer in a van” patent
Amazon can already delivery goods to you tomorrow, in fact if you order early enough in the day you have have your purchase today, so what’s next? They’ve just put in a patent to manufacture goods in the back of a van with a 3D printer as it’s en route to you.
The idea is that when you place an order it doesn’t matter where the goods are because they won’t yet exist. You’ll buy, Amazon will purchase a 3D print design from a supplier. A local van will have a 3D printer in the back and will print your purchase and be able to deliver it straight to your door.
The thinking behind the printer in a van idea is that it’ll save warehouse costs and get products into the hands of buyers faster than ever before. They state in the patent that “An electronic marketplace may also face the challenge of time delays related to the process of the finding the selected item amoung a large inventory…. and find it desirable to decrease the amount of warehouse or inventory storage space needed, to reduce the amount of time consumed between receiving the order and delivering the item to the customer, or both.
Of course there are only certain products that lend themselves to 3D printing and even if they are suitable the results are not always perfect as these engineering students discovered at their press conference. However on the plus side as they recover their pitch, if a part does break you could always get another one printed and in a few year’s time it might be from a mobile manufacturing process in the back of an Amazon delivery van.