3D Systems talks strategy at Denver launch event as it readies itself for dental market push

At a launch event in Denver this week, 3D Systems announced an array of new product offerings to align with its strategy that “starts with the customers.”

To coincide with these announcements 3D Systems invited 3D Printing Industry, as well as several other media outlets and industry analysts, to its Healthcare Technology Center in Littleton, CO.

At the event I got a chance to delve deeper into the company’s strategy for the future with an interview with CEO Vyomesh Joshi (VJ). Who gave more details on the Figure 4 and Dental announcements made earlier this year in March.

Chuck Hall's figure 4 from the original patent for his SLA technology and the origin of the platform's name. Photo by Corey Clarke.
Chuck Hall’s figure 4 from the original patent for his SLA technology and the origin of the platform’s name. Photo by Corey Clarke.

Customer centric strategy

“The 3D Systems strategy starts with the customers”

This strategy has several prongs with software, hardware, materials and support services at the forefront. According to the 3D Systems CEO, VJ, materials play a large part of this strategy. He explains, “It’s all about materials. If you don’t have the right materials, you’re not going to get the right part for the customer.”

3D Systems showcase of 3D printed dentistry and the NextDent materials that make them possible. Photo by Corey Clarke.
3D Systems showcase of 3D printed dentistry and the NextDent materials that make them possible. Photo by Corey Clarke.

Ahead of the competition 

During VJ’s talk at the beginning of the day there were repeated comparisons made with Carbon and HP. Two companies that have enjoyed significant limelight in recent times for their 3D printer offerings. Carbon’s recent partnership with sportswear company Adidas spurred excitement across the industry, but VJ is keen to stress that 3D Systems isn’t innovating for the mere sake of innovation.

While HP caused furore ever since its announcement of its Multi Jet Fusion technology. However, VJ is quick to juxtapose 3D Systems’ strategy by concentrating on end-use applications. The CEO wants to get people excited of 3D printing potential as a viable and efficient solution to manufacturing needs. Not as a marketing gimmick to produce nice looking shoes.

“I just want to get this thing in the customer’s hands”

3D Systems is looking to do just that by lowering the entry price point of the Figure 4 to $25,000 USD.

Close-up of 3D Systems' dental offerings. Photo by Corey Clarke.
Close-up of 3D Systems’ dental offerings. Photo by Corey Clarke.

Bracing for dentistry

Another major aspect of 3D Systems’ strategy is propelling into the dental market. Having already pioneered its 3D printed healthcare solutions, the company will now take this knowledge and experience into the Dental business.

However, as VJ explained, this segment will require a different approach since dental laboratories aren’t often as embracing of technology.

He explained the company will “go to the labs where they already have a software workflow.” Explaining 3D Systems will look to find dental labs with a scanner and a digital process already partly in place and then work from there. Rather than attempting to teach existing technicians a whole new workflow. 

The new FabPro 1000 machine. Photo by Corey Clarke.
The new FabPro 1000 machine. Photo by Corey Clarke.

Looking to the future 

3D Systems is set to introduce a new desktop professional SLA printer in the form of the FabPro 1000 and will also release the new Figure 4 Dental platform next year. Building upon its existing success in the healthcare industry, VJ says:

“We feel that we can continue to grow that business as we have a competitive advantage that nobody else has.”

Intending to now implement this strategy in other business sectors such as the dental market, 3D Systems look set to have an interesting 2018 and we will have further updates from the company at Formnext. 

For all the latest updates, including from next week’s Formnext event in Frankfurt, subscribe to our free 3D Printing Industry newsletter, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Featured image shows 3D Systems Healthcare Technology Centre in Littleton Colorado. Photo by Corey Clarke. 

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