Being one of the most commercially focused, semi-professional and professional 3D printer manufacturers, Netherlands-based Leapfrog has been very active in signing significant partnerships with important international distributors. After closing several deals in the US, Leapfrog is turning to head back to Europe. They are announcing at CES a distribution deal with Ingram Micro Technology Solutions Europe and, in a second deal that will be further disclosed later tomorrow at 10 am PST, a partnership with leading European professional 3D printing bureau Materialise.
A Fortune 500 company, Ingram Micro serves customers in over 170 countries by providing complete technological and supply chain optimization solutions. It will now add Leapfrog’s newest Creatr HS 3D printer to its portfolio to offer an easy-to-use and affordable 3D printer for prosumers and educators. Ingram Micro will also be offering Leapfrog’s high-end system, the Xeed, which has a larger build volume and enclosed, temperature-controlled environment.
Rudolf Ehrmanntraut, head of peripherals and supplies for Ingram Micro Technology Solutions Europe, said that the company has been rapidly increasing its portfolio of 3D printers, as the market is expanding rapidly: “We are extremely pleased to be adding the products of Leapfrog 3D Printers to our European portfolio.” He added, “Their range of printers, printing materials, software, hardware add-ons and services complement our current offering and allow us to present our channel partners with a complete range of solutions and a great sales and service opportunity.”
To further illustrate the benefits of desktop 3D printing to professionals, Leapfrog has been releasing a series of white papers focusing on specific target industries. The latest one – which should soon be available for download from Leapfrog’s website – is dedicated to engineers and how they can use this technology to cut costs, avoid downtime, and optimize their designs. Based on the research findings, Leapfrog 3D also organizes free online and offline workshops, during which engineers can experience how desktop 3D printing can add value for them.
More information on Leapfrog’s expansion plans will be discussed during a conference in which the company will also illustrate the details of their collaboration with Materialise. Mathijs Kosse, CEO of Leapfrog 3D printers, is very proud of both new partnerships, saying, “In this rapidly developing industry we operate in, it is important that we remain agile. We are able to move quickly if we surround ourselves with a dream team of partners that are the best in their field and are as eager and quick as we are. Getting on board with Ingram Micro as a distribution and supply chain partner allows us to efficiently meet the enormous market demand for our products in all of Europe.”
Editor’s Update 1/8/2014: Leapfrog has gone on to announce their partnership with leading 3D printing service provider and software developer Materialise. Taking advantage of Materialise’s more than twenty years of experience to launch a new 3D printing software called Leapfrog Builder. The software, which relies on Materialise’s Build Processor, will come standard with the new Leapfrog Creatr HS 3D printer.
Leaptfrog Builder is meant to bring the simplicity of 2D inkjet printing to desktop 3D printing, so that users can adjust print settings based on pre-set, automatically updated profiles or via their own custom profiles. The goal is to shorten the process of uploading a file to printing that file as much as possible, bringing Leapfrog closer to a one-step printing process.
Some features of the new software include: part analysis for detecting the most common printing errors; wall thickness analysis to heat map the thicknesses of walls and identify unprintably thin ones; a platform calibration that runs users through a 4-point check calibration process; basic model fixing that will correct inverted triangles and small holes; dual-head nozzle calibration; and filament loading and unloading wizard.
Materialise has already integrated their Build Processor into EOS and SLM’s 3D printing processes, so, if it’s good enough for an industrial 3D printer, I dare say that it’s good enough for a desktop FFF machine, like the Leapfrog Creatr HS.