Since the Smart Extruder debacle of 2014, MakerBot has had a tenuous grip on the desktop 3D printing market in North America. 3D Hubs’ monthly Trend Reports still list the Replicator 2 as one of the most popular low-cost machines worldwide, but it’s been almost four years since that product was released and, due to the issues related to the 5th Gen systems, other manufacturers may be closing in on the Stratasys subsidiary. The likely next in line for the throne is Ultimaker, whose open source 3D printer has changed very little since it was first released, but has remained popular nonetheless. The recent introduction of Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers onto Apple stores throughout 19 countries in Europe may signal the brand as being one of the most consumer-ready makers of 3D printers on the market. Today’s announcement of a new North American president and Boston office further reflects the Dutch company’s desire to conquer the U.S. market. And their choice of president will certainly go a long way towards achieving that goal.
Ultimaker has selected John Kawola as President of Ultimaker North America. Kawola was previously the CEO and President of Z Corporation, as well as CEO of Harvest Automation, Inc. He is also a Board Director at SpaceClaim. Altogether, Kawola’s resume packs a powerful punch. The new president of Ultimaker North America says of the position,“Desktop 3D printing is still in its infancy, it has made significant strides in the last few years and the potential is unlimited. I have been very impressed with how Ultimaker has focused on the maker, education and enterprise markets, built a strong product and quickly moved to a market leadership position. I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Boston was selected for the city’s connections to 3D printing and CAD software, with the location serving to lead North American sales, marketing, community management, and technical resources. This office will complement Ultimaker’s locations in New York and San Francisco, as well as their manufacturing and support resources in Memphis. Will all of this mean that Ultimaker will overtake other manufacturers to become the go-to desktop 3D printer in the United States? Who knows, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we, someday soon, see the brand at least pop up in Apple’s online store for the U.S.