I’m not going to stop until you get enough about 3-D printers. You know what I mean? Might as well keep beating this horse until there’s nothing left to beat and then start beating it all over again. That’s how the press and analyst community works with any new technology or service so why change now?
After last week’s column and article on 3-D printing, I received an e-mail from Paul Schwartz, president of Copier Careers, with some interesting news. First, he reports that his organization is receiving job requests for 3-D printer techs now.
When I asked if those positions even exist yet, his reply was, “No, the dealers have to train them.”
He also shared the results of a survey about 3-D printing from Copier Careers’ January newsletter. The survey question, “Is it a passing fad, or a technology that will have a serious impact on the copier channel?” yielded the following results:
- It will have a major impact: 74% (1,826 votes)
- It will have a small impact: 20% (489 votes)
- It will have no impact: 6% (148 votes)
He also shared some comments from readers about 3-D printing. These are some of my favorites:
“Game changer.” “It’s a fad, like dot matrix printers.”
“Printing on paper will always trump 3D in the office world.”
“I think this could be the next big thing for our industry; Great profit potential for sales and service.”
“3D=3X the profit margin.”
“Without knowing more specifics as to pricing, applications, and output capacity, how can you judge the impact?”
“As IT has separated dealerships and offered growth, 3D will do the same.”
“With some companies using 3D printing to create one-of-a-kind objects, we in the industry will need to invest heavily in the knowledge required to stay relevant in this fast-expanding realm.”
“Our grandfathers made things with their hands using tools. Our children will make everything with 3D printers. Production lines and large warehouses with huge inventories will be a thing of the past. Parts and items will be made on demand. No waiting for shipping or even going to the store. Think of the money that will be saved.”
“It’s a niche product. I don’t see it being cost effective for mass production.”
“As faddish as 3D printing is, it is totally unrelated to the functions that MFPs provide such as printing office documents, making copies, faxing, scanning, and transmitting to remote locations. MFPs are a commodity and 3D printing is a specialty. Purchasing is not going to add the cost of 3D to MFPs for this generation of devices, and probably not the next.”
“As a market analyst providing research and consulting services in the 3D printing industry, but with a background in the hardcopy imaging business, I agree that the opportunity is there for the copier channel (one of the best sales organizations of the 21st century) to capitalize on 3D printing, but with one caveat. It’s crucial not to get too comfortable lumping copiers and 3D printers together as the same kind of sale, to the same kind of customer. There is an entirely different set of expectations, needs, and processes that need to be completely understood for the opportunity to go from average to great.”
“The 3D printing market is small- $2 billion worldwide in 2014. Maybe $1 billion here in the U.S. Imagine all the copier dealers chasing this. The market would be too fragmented, and remember, 70% of the $1 billion is the DIY/hobbyist group that dealers do not want to play with anyway.”
There you have it, some compelling responses from the channel about 3-D printing, and not the last words on it either.
Thanks for reading.