The geographic expansion of Stratasys owned MakerBot’s retail channels continues with the first distribution partnership for the company in South Africa. Rectron will distribute the full range of MakerBot branded products: the award-winning MakerBot Replicator (5th Gen) Desktop 3D Printer, the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer, Replicator Z18 3D Printer, Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer, Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, as well as a range of MakerBot filaments and accessories.
Bruce Bradford, group business unit manager of printers at Rectron SA said: “We are excited to work with a global leader in the desktop 3D printer category. Our partnership with MakerBot is the perfect example of our commitment to providing our customers with products that embrace the spirit of innovation and creative thinking. The popularity and usefulness of 3D printing has been growing tremendously over the past several years.”
It’s a year ago now that MakerBot announced its first major distribution deal, with Ingram Micro. Many other distribution deals have been signed over the space of time since then, withs highly notable names such as Microsoft and Dell. Now that big, indeed the biggest, names in technology are participating more directly in 3D printing – such as Google’s Ara deal with 3D Systems, Autodesk’s Spark platform and Ember printer, and, perhaps, the Hewlett Packard Sprout mystery – new distribution deals with smaller companies may at first seem less notable than they once were. Stratasys has been expanding its own major retail channels across the globe, such as in the lucrative China and Taiwan market via Aurora.
But MakerBot has come far indeed in a short space of time. The brand continues to take large strides in its ever expanding retail channels, range of products and services provision. Some recent reviews of the latest generation of the company’s hardware haven’t been as enthusiastic as previous hardware reviews have been — subjective opinions are always going to vary, and we are in the year of the swing to realism regarding prosumer 3D printing, after the 2013 year of hype. We are seeing an increasing number of prosumer 3D printer producers coming to a stage roughly analogous to that where MakerBot was positioned at around this time last year: Tinkerine Studios, ShareBot, Zortrax, ZMorph, Afinia, Airwolf3D, Ion Core, LeapFrop, PrintrBot and more. But MakerBot continues to hold the lead in sales and distribution channels, particularly as part of the large and growing Stratasys chain.
Mark Schulze, vice-president of sales for MakerBot said: “We are excited to partner with Rectron SA to add to MakerBot’s growing network of authorised international distributors and resellers. Expanding our global footprint and accessibility to our products is a very important step toward the goal of providing access to MakerBot 3D printing products throughout the world.”
Mr. Bradford added: “The possibilities that 3D printing offers the local education, engineering, architecture and healthcare industries are enormous. We look forward to sharing this journey with MakerBot and exploring endless opportunities together in South Africa.”