Yesterday, at 3DPI, we received a note from Pawel Slusarczyk, co-owner of Centrum Druku 3D a polish website covering 3D printing. He kindly pointed us to a very interesting development that has emerged from Poland, specifically concerning a fellow native company — 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax. The news is that Zortrax has confirmed it is finalizing a significant deal with DELL computers, whereby Zortrax will supply the computer giant with 5000 M200`s 3D printers. The deal will be completed in batches, the first of which is due to be shipped during the first quarter of this year.
As Centrum Druku 3D identifies, in its polish article yesterday, “this spectacular deal is impressive not only for the Polish market , but the global market in general.” It will certainly significantly impact volume sales numbers of 3D printers for 2014, and with Makerbot and 3D Systems reporting increasing volumes too, those ubiquitous graphs that the analysts love producing are surely going to show even steeper curves this year. This is the largest single order I have ever heard of across the industry, and it does seem high, what could one company possible do with 5000 3D printers — even one as large as DELL? One assumes they are for product development and that DELL has bought into the benefits of 3D printing within the product development process — literally — to give their designers the tools to do it better, faster and more efficiently.
The news of the deal has broken ahead of all the “i’s” being dotted and the “t’s” being crossed, but confidence at Zortrax is obviously high. Zortrax, you may remember, conducted a very successful Kickstarter campaign through May and June of last year and completed fulfillment of the campaign earlier this month to all 80 Kickstarter backers. There is a double edged sword here in terms of the numbers — fulfilling 80 orders for a single 3D printer in just over six months is a notable achievement, but it pales into insignificance compared with a single order for 5000 3D printers. The scale up required is tremendous, but Zortrax believe everything is in place to do just that. Centrum Druku 3D reports that there will be more insight into the what and how soon following an in-depth interview with Raphael Tomasiak of Zortrax based in Olsztyn.
I imagine a number of companies will be keeping an eye on Zortrax following this announcement — not least the aforementioned Makerbot (Stratasys) and 3D Systems from a competitive point of view; but also other large manufacturers — to see if Zortrax fulfills the DELL order competently with a view to following suit.
And if it all goes according to plan, expect those numbers to go stratospheric!