Dealing with Brand Pollution in the Business of 3D Printing



Over the course of the last three years, the desktop fabrication segment of the 3D Printing industry has come a long way. We have seen a great deal of innovation on the hardware side and a few new solutions that hold a great deal of promise in solving the issue of dual extrusion.

At DesignBox3D, we have worked hard to choose our partners carefully and will often proudly share with anyone that happens to be listening that our longest running relationship has been with Espen Sivertsen and the entire team at Type A Machines. One of the core reasons for this mutual respect is that they look at additive manufacturing the same way as we do.  It is a quickly emerging component in the design to manufacturing tool-chain and Type A Machines, like DesignBox3D, wants to be a key part of that tool-chain.

DesignBox3D5Part of this vision of having Additive Manufacturing play a key role in the design to manufacturing process involves an intense focus on continual R&D and innovation on the hardware side, coupled with a desire to expand the capabilities of the hardware on the materials side of the equation.

Type A has taken their version of Cura and added capabilities that cannot be found elsewhere.  Absolute 3D Internal structures and the 88+ materials and rising that are supported today are prime examples of the material flexibility of this platform.

Working with Type A Machines

Having visited and met with a number of manufacturers both in the US and overseas over the course of the past several years, Type A Machines has had the clearest vision of where they wanted to fit in.  With 400 plus manufacturers in the desktop Additive Manufacturing space today, they have a clear picture of where they want to be, in both the tool-chain and market positioning.

To the subject of this article – having penned more than a few articles discussing the prevailing chaos in the industry, we have observed that a select few resellers in the channel have chosen a “mega-mall” or WalMart style approach. If the grand total of your business plan is to simply move a lot of boxes, go ahead – we’ll concede defeat. We offer solutions as opposed to dozens of brands. So for example, we would rather offer a client a handful or even a dozen solutions to fit their needs best than to confuse the client and damage the brands we offer by listing a $200 toy in the same “3D Printer” category as a $4000 Type A Machines Series 1 Pro or an $8,000-$15,000 printer.

DesignBox3D3In our humble opinion, “brand pollution” in the reseller and distribution channels stems from not having a clear vision of who your client is and not truly understanding what their needs are.  Offering 50-60 3D printers may help as a “catch all” strategy, but in reality, it is a disservice to clients because when you try to be everything to everyone, you end up not being knowledgeable about much of anything.

By offering an Amazon style menu to clients, you are in effect hurting all the brands you offer, but a disproportionate amount of the damage is to the higher end desktop AM solutions you represent. More often than not, we phase out manufacturers that think it’s a good idea to work with such partners.

As a result of our focus on the professional user segment, when clients call or visit our showroom, they are immediately faced with our handful of choices and we can then quickly narrow down the list even further and speak to the strengths of each platform.

If you want large, high quality industrial scale parts, the choice is easy – choose the Type A Machines Series 1 Pro. It is a rugged workhorse.

The Focus On 3DP Markets

DesignBox3D2As many as 99% of the requests we get to print parts for clients always involve large parts or special materials. Nearly every one of these requests are fulfilled on our Type A Series 1 Pros that we have in-house. It is the only resource that offers us the functionality and feature set to produce perfect results to our clients. This result comes from years of experience and complete familiarity with the capabilities of this machine.

We are seeing adoption rates for AM rise at a rapid clip and the segments that continue to grow are the ones that DesignBox3D and Type A Machines are focused on – Manufacturing, Product Design, Medical, Defense and Aerospace are a few examples.

Each Series1 Pro still displays a sticker “A 3D Printer is not a toy. Do not leave unattended”.  Would you believe that Type A Machines is the only 3D Printer manufacturer that is doing this? Believe it!

A final thought: Don’t print toys with your tools.

By Preet Jesrani

President & CEO, DesignBox3D

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