Following the news that Dell has placed an order for 5000 Zortrax 3D printers from the Polish manufacturer, the computer giant has also been forging a deal with MakerBot. Originally the assumption was that the Zortrax order was to use the 3D printers they were acquiring for in-house product development. The high volume and the choice of vendor was a conundrum, but now, I would suggest, the order is based on Dell looking to enter the 3D printing market as a retailer
In news that has emerged today (thanks Andrew) Dell and MakerBot have agreed a partnership that will “provide award-winning 3D printing solutions to help small to medium sized businesses with fast and affordable prototyping.”
Dell is adding MakerBot 3D printers and scanners to its existing portfolio of Dell Precision workstations with a view to allowing engineers to design and test new product concepts quickly; architects to create 3D prototypes during the design phase; and start-ups to experiment with new product designs and artistic models inexpensively. Citing 3D printing’s move beyond early adopters and hobbyists and the IDC’s prediction that the 3D printer market will see a compound annual revenue growth rate of 29 percent from 2012 to 2017. Dell is obviously seizing an opportunity and is looking to sell the benefits of 3D printing — and 3D printers — to its not inconsiderable customer base.
According to Andy Rhodes, executive director, Dell Precision workstations: “At Dell we strive to arm start-ups, designers and engineers with the powerful, reliable and cutting-edge technology they need to succeed. With the addition of MakerBot’s 3D printers and scanners to Dell’s workstation portfolio, our customers can now bring their innovative prototypes to life much more quickly and affordably.”
It makes sense — this is a target market ripe for the picking, well ahead of the consumer rush, that may or may not come.
A fact that MakerBot’s CEO, Bre Pettis is fully aware of: “Partnering with Dell is another step in building out the MakerBot 3D Printing Ecosystem that makes 3D printing easy and accessible for everyone. Dell has done a great job with supporting and enabling small businesses, and we are excited to bring our 3D printing solutions to their customers to unlock their creativity.”
Dell will be showcasing its 3D design solutions, including Precision workstations with AMD FirePro W5000 workstation graphics optimized and certified for SolidWorks² and the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, at SolidWorks World this week. Dell and Dassault Systèmes have worked closely together for years to test, certify and optimize SolidWorks software on Dell workstations enabling a stable and reliable platform to create, simulate, visualize and collaborate on designs, speed up workflows and maximize productivity.
The full range of MakerBot 3D printers (Gen 4 & 5) together with the Digitizer scanner MakerBot Filament, are expected to be available for purchase from Dell from February 20 in the US. This distribution agreement provides exclusivity by Dell; MakerBot Replicator 3D printers will be the only FDM technology sold through Dell’s small business channel in the United States.
Suggesting Zortrax will be available throughout Europe and/or Asia?