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Flagship Auchan store unveils 3D printing area

Auchan's flagship store in Lille, France has opened a 3D printing area to help its customers buy a range of personalised products.

Shoppers can visit the store-within-a-store to design and purchase objects such as 'mini-me' figurines, jewellery, trophies and medals, and they can then order these item to be printed.

Dubbed the Yoomake kiosk, the new facility is brought to Auchan via a partnership between online 3D printing service provider for the consumer market i.materialise, which is part of the Materialise NV Group, and 3D customisation company, Twikit.

Orders are created at Materialise's headquarters, which the business says is Europe's largest factory for 3D printing, and then sent to the store for the customer to pick up.

Group Auchan's innovation and Yoomake project director, Emmanuel Le Bouille, said: "Personalised product experiences are a growing trend in the retail industry and this initiative demonstrates how 3D printing lets designs go from the digital realm to real life.

"Auchan prides itself on adopting new technologies and bringing them to the general public. By combining the technical knowhow of Twikit and i.materialise with the commercial knowhow of Auchan, we let our customers' ideas become reality through the Yoomake 3D print service in our Lille shop."

A significant upturn in the use and applications of 3D printers is encouraging huge growth in the market for 3D printing materials, according to a new report from technology research group IDTechEx.

The publication, '3D Printing Materials 2015-2025, Status, Opportunities, Market Forecasts', suggests that the total consumable market in 2013 was $800 million and is expected to reach $8 billion by 2025.

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