Japanese imaging technology manufacturer and developer Konica Minolta went into business with 3D Systems last year when they signed a local distribution agreement for the Australian market. Less than a year later, according to Konica Minolta, demand has increased so much that they are already planning on expanding their operation. The company has already hired several new regional sales specialists to manage the increased interest in 3D Systems’ commercial 3D printer offerings. They will also be increasing the local resellers’ product servicing capabilities as well as improving their warehousing logistics. Konica Minolta was the first company to sell, service, install and support 3D Systems 3D printers in Australia, and the company also has a similar deal in the United States.
Despite the company’s size, 3D Systems rarely sells its own 3D printers, choosing to sign deals with resellers all over the world who can sell printers locally and offer support and servicing. Typically their reseller partners were smaller 3D printing companies; however, increasingly large corporations are getting in on the 3D printing action. Unlike fellow imaging company HP, Konica Minolta isn’t developing their own 3D printers but is choosing to simply resell those developed and manufactured by 3D Systems. The partnership is a natural fit, as Konica Minolta structures their own office equipment reseller network similarly and already has a vast, global distribution network in place that can easily scale up if the market demands it.
“What Konica Minolta brings to the market is industry leading and guaranteed same-day service response nation-wide, along with rental and operating lease options, which negates the need for our customers to outlay capital expenditure. Konica Minolta has for years built up its support infrastructure for the printing industry. Now the Australian 3D printing market will also have access to the same level of assurance the printing industry has. With Konica Minolta’s service, support and logistics capabilities, consumables replenishment infrastructure, and expertise, we hope to help drive the already rapid uptake of 3D printing in the local market,” explained Konica Minolta national manager Matthew Hunter.
Konica Minolta is seeking to improve their existing service response time so that any 3D printer downtime is limited and consumable materials can be sent to their customers more quickly. They are also looking to boost their finance offerings to support smaller companies hoping to explore 3D printing technology and find out how it can fit within their businesses’ workflow. The national expansion into the Australian market is primarily being driven by these two challenges, which Hunter hopes will lead to strong growth over the coming year as a result.
“Naturally, we expect to be putting more even more resources into our 3D printing business as this demand occurs. Industries, such as manufacturing that have been using 3D printing since its introduction, have matured to a point where they are able to receive the desired output from these machines. However, 3D printing is no longer limited to just these markets. Other sectors looking to leverage the technology need to ensure that what is designed on a screen is equally impressive when printed in three dimensions. This can be a challenge as many 3D files do not always translate well to a 3D rendered object. Konica Minolta, along with 3D Systems, have the technical resources, workflows, and printers to help organisations overcome this challenge,” continued Hunter.
Konica Minolta is offering their Australian customers several 3D Systems options, including the ProJet 3500 Series Professional 3D Printers, which are idea for engineering, manufacturing, small-scale manufacturing, prototyping and the development of mechanical components. They also offer the ProJet 660 Professional 3D Printer, which is used to develop consumer products as well as being popular in the healthcare and education markets thanks to its photorealistic 3D printed models. A full line of materials, consumables and accessories is also available.