Category Archives: Imaging

Spotlight on 3D Printing

The Global 3D Printer market saw great changes last year with some high profile companies in the additive manufacturing market scaling back their expectations for the newer, desktop side of the market.

Over the course of 2015, the total market saw a growth of +30% in terms of total printers shipped marked by a +33% year-on-year growth for Desktop/Personal printers but -9% fewer Industrial/Professional 3D Printers.

In the Desktop/Personal 3D Printer sector, Taiwanese vendor XYZprinting remained the global leader in Q4’15, extending its share to 31% for the period and 21% for the full calendar year. The 2nd half of the year witnessed the de-emphasis of the sale of Desktop 3D Printers to consumers by former market leaders Stratasys/MakerBot and 3D Systems/Cubify, a mantle picked up by others including XYZprinting and M3D. The period also witnessed the largest crowdsourced effort to date for 3D Printers with the pre-sale of over 16,000 units of the $179 Tiko 3D printer, expected to arrive during 2016.

The Industrial/Professional portion of the 3D Printing market struggled as anticipated in Q4’15. This Industrial/Professional side sector continues to be characterised by a wide range of technologies and price points, catering to a number of vertical markets with no one technology offering a silver bullet for all applications.

Since the 3D Printer industry consists of a wide range of prices for the various types of 3D Printing technologies, the market is often benchmarked not only on units, but also on revenue from the sale of printers. Doing so helps to show the growing importance of Metal 3D Printing overall with 2015 seeing three of the top five vendors all mostly concentrating on metal additive manufacturing (EOS, SLM Solutions and Arcam).

Looking into the future, we are forecasting the total global market for 3D Printing including not only printer Hardware, but also Materials and Services to grow from $4.1B in 2015 to $16.2B by 2020.

We will be hosting a short market briefing this Thursday (21st April, highlighting both market figures and vendor rankings in the 3D Space. To register, simply click here.

by CC

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 3D Printing, Imaging

A look at Canon in the future

Canon EXPOs have been held every five years since 2000 in New York, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai (although the fourth Shanghai event is scheduled for 2016). Each event has a different theme, but all have the same purpose: to introduce and define Canon’s five-year vision and strategy.

I had the chance to attend the Canon EXPO Paris last year and have to admit that the event was an impressive exposition of existing and future imaging products, technologies, services and solutions. Some of the prototypes showcased – such as MREAL and the Rich Collaboration System – made me feel like I had travelled ‘back to the future’.

In his keynote speech, Fujio Mitarai, chairman and CEO of Canon Inc., reviewed current economic challenges and explained his vision for the future of Canon. Currently, most of Canon’s products are manufactured in Japan but he said this is to change in the near future. Canon is to broaden its operations and collaborate more globally: products for healthcare business are to be produced in the US while in Europe Canon will focus on printing and network solutions. Canon sees the EMEA region as ‘the brightest spot for growth’ and will be seeking partners across all regions to innovate and to change the ways in which people interact in the future.

Canon believes that the Internet of Things will depend on ‘Imaging of Things’ and this is where it sees vast opportunities for growth. The company wants to be involved in every stage of the process, and believes that every image will be connected via smart devices that can capture, record, store, edit, share and print. Canon plans to build an ecosystem of products and services by adding solutions for every part of the imaging experience in B2C (digital consumer services) and B2B.

Rokus van Iperen, president and CEO of Canon Europe, Middle East and Africa, stated that Canon will continue to focus on its core businesses while expanding globally, and also emphasized the importance of the rapidly growing markets that Canon will target in years to come: 3D printing, graphical arts and network visual solutions (NVS) to respond to the demand from security and retail markets.

Like many other vendors, Canon has explained and introduced new services and solutions for the B2B market in order to help businesses improve productivity and efficiency and enhance end-users’ experiences using one face to the customer approach. The company builds tailored solutions for vertical markets that have specific needs, such as finance, insurance, manufacturing and health. At the moment, such solutions account for one fifth of Canon’s total revenue in Europe – a figure which it expects to double in the next few years by increasing the number of partners with direct and indirect IT competences.

Value-added solutions go well with services (outsourcing, data and document management, workflow automation and marketing communication management, etc.), therefore, Canon continues to focus on these areas and simultaneously invest in its capability to build services by integrating and adapting their added value, and also creating partnerships that will help it to collaborate and remain competitive in the rapidly changing world of technology. Canon strives not only to digitize customers’ business processes but – in common with other vendors – to automate workflows. The next few years will show how well Canon manages to compete in this highly competitive space.

by ZB

Leave a comment

Filed under Imaging, IoT, Uncategorized

Global Metal 3D Printing Market Remains Hot in Q3’15

Worldwide sales of 3D Printing machines which produce metal parts were up +45% in Q3 2015 compared to the same period one year ago despite the woes in the overall Industrial/Professional 3D Printer market.

While North America remains the world’s largest region for 3D Printing with 44% of Industrial/Professional Printers shipped in Q3’15 going into this region, Western Europe leads in consumption of metal-based systems in this segment.  More than 56% of all metal systems shipped in Q3’15 were shipped into this region in the period predominately by Western European companies due to the heavy influence of Western European, and in particular, German company’s focus on developing and refining metal 3D Printing.

In terms of industries, the Aerospace, Automotive and Medical markets remain leading industries for metal 3D Printing, leveraging the power of Additive Manufacturing for its ability to offer mass-customization and/or detailed, low-volume part production previously not reproducible via traditional manufacturing techniques, with companies like GE, Boeing and Airbus leading the way.

As the 3D Printing industry continues to evolve away from just leveraging the technology for rapid prototyping, more and more metal machines are continuing to find homes alongside traditional machines on factory floors.

by CC

Leave a comment

Filed under 3D Printing, Imaging

Global 3D Printing Industry Passes 500K Units Shipped

While the global growth of the 3D printing industry in recent years has been phenomenal, with shipments passing the half million mark during the mid-point this year, 2015 has been a difficult year for both the Industrial/Professional segment and the Personal/Desktop segments.

Q3 this year saw long-time industry players Stratasys and 3D Systems continue to struggle. The former again laid off employees from its desktop/personal printer division, MakerBot, and the latter parted ways with its long-time CEO and president.

Both companies posted weak earnings the quarter, showing declines in total revenues of -18% and -9% respectively. But, as anticipated, various players from the 2D printing markets continue to move closer to full entrance into the market. Canon recently showcased an industrial/professional 3D printing machine at a company event in Paris in order to demonstrate technology that will be available under the Canon brand at an undetermined date. While Canon is still dipping its toe in the water, rival Ricoh has entered the market, introducing an industrial laser-sintering machine co-developed with its fellow Japanese company (and long-time industry player) ASPECT, Inc.

As Hewlett Packard splits into HP Inc and HP Enterprise, HP Inc is using 3D printing as a showcase piece for the new company and there are indications that its MultiJet Fusion (MJF) technology will be brought to the professional market in late 2016. It is also continuing to promote a desktop/personal 3D printer alongside its consumer SPROUT PC to showcase its 3D scanning capabilities and the two are reportedly often purchased together via HP.com.

While major 2D printing brands continue to move closer to the 3D printing market, each has opted to enter on the Industrial/Professional side at the moment with the Desktop/Personal printer market still marked by a hodge-podge of printer offerings from long-time additive manufacturing companies, start-ups and regional brands.  In Europe, for example, players like Spain’s BQ, Germany’s German RepRap, Italy’s Sharebot, Poland’s Zortrax, Dutch Ultimaker and the like tend to do well in their region but none enjoy truly global brand recognition yet.  Even the top brand in the world for desktop printers, Taiwan’s XYZprinting, is hardly a household brand showing the nascent nature of this side of the industry.

by CC

Leave a comment

Filed under 3D Printing, Imaging

3D Printing: Challenges for the IT Channel

Industry analysts are often asked about the “tipping points” for various technologies. The active involvement of the $135bnIT global distribution market may just be one of the major elements that creates such a tipping point for 3D printing.

But there are challenges on both sides of this equation. For major broad-line distributors, many 3D printer companies are just too small to deal with or are too unfamiliar with the IT channel to bother with at the moment. For the manufacturers of the relatively new breed of personal/desktop 3D printers (those mostly under $5K), the IT channel is a strange, gigantic, unknown entity with rigid terms and conditions, which seem unfriendly to newcomers.

Even 3D-printer vendors who have operated in the professional space with larger, more expensive printers seem to be happy with their legacy direct resellers, many of whom they have been partnered with for decades. But the hype of 3D printing over the last few years and the emergence of this desktop/personal breed of 3D Printers (which, to the channel, act and feel much as any other PC peripheral) potentially calls into question the ability of legacy distribution to push the industry to the next level. The technology keeps getting better and the lines between desktop and professional 3D printers continue to blur, but good products are only part of the marketing mix: the industry seems to be begging more and more each day for a closer relationship between 3D printer companies – new and old – and the IT channel.

The entrance into the market of long-time industry stalwart HP will help. HP knows the IT channel and the IT channel knows HP. HP Inc’s entrance into this market in 2016 will be from the PC side of the split company and will continue to legitimize the technology both on a broad level and within IT circles. This entry will be in the professional space, not the desktop printer space; however, many assume that HP desktop 3D printers will not be too far behind as both the PC industry and HP desperately search for new areas of growth.

While HP’s entrance into the market may indeed be a tipping point, strides are already being made in the nascent desktop 3D printer market, with the top brand in the space, XYZprinting, being an excellent example of this. Part of this company’s success can be attributed to its familiarity with the IT channel through other products in their portfolio, which allows it to quickly place its 3D printers in the global IT distribution market. Stratasys/MakerBot has also been seen to be embracing the channel more, as has 3D Systems (and vice versa: the channel is embracing them). Regional brands can also be found in IT distribution across the globe, collectively allowing this segment to see a 249% year-on-year growth in sell-through from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015 in the EMEA region alone.

So, as the IT channel continues to look for ways to grow beyond single-digit rates and 3D printing looks for ways to get printers into the hands of SMBs, educational institutions, engineering labs and the like, it seems inconceivable that the two cannot grow together.

by CC

Leave a comment

Filed under 3D Printing, Imaging, Market Analysis

HP’s JetIntelligence technology to make workplaces more efficient

by ZB

In the area of printing, people typically fall into two camps: those that prefer laser and those that prefer inkjet. Personally, I’ve always been a laser person. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that our first personal printer was a laser one. While bulky, the speed and quality of prints was outstanding compared to that of inkjet ones at the time. This was more than 20 years ago. The technology of laser and especially inkjet has significantly improved since then and we continue to see more inkjet technology devices making inroads into businesses.

A couple of years ago HP announced its OfficeJet Pro X and Enterprise X series with PageWide technology and the company’s move into the enterprise space with inkjet printers, claiming that the devices ‘looks and runs like a laser, but costs half as much per page’. People in the industry were wondering how this would affect HP’s laser printer sales. There was also a question around HP’s value proposition for its laser printers should be against a backdrop of less printing, due to mobile working and ‘think before you print’ themes in corporate environments.

I was excited to see HP announce a new series of LaserJet printers last month, built on the new toner formulation – the original HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence technology. The new HP LaserJet printers, according to HP, use up to 53% less energy, take up to 40% less space and wake up, print and duplex in a fraction of the time.

The main improvements are ColorSphere 3 toner, which soft core melts at a lower temperature, and a new ‘page maximizer’ cartridge design, which is all about higher page yields, smaller and faster printer, and greater energy efficiency. Due to a new anti-fraud technology, the new HP toner cartridges make it more difficult for third-parties to re-manufacture the supplies, which typically take away a large chunk of HP’s supplies revenues. Other improvements include print gauge technology for more certainty when predicting cartridge life and an auto seal removal technology. The new JetIntelligence technology is set to fundamentally re-design HP’s LaserJet printers and future plans are in place to introduce JetIntelligence technology across all of HP’s LaserJet printer line-ups.

In contrast, Epson introduced 18 inkjet printers for the business environment, with its exclusive PrecisionCore printhead technology in March last year, announcing that Inkjets are the future and that any laser printer users would eventually switch to inkjet. On the other hand, HP is determined to keep its leadership position in both laser and inkjet markets and to continue to innovate to stay competitive.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Imaging