Arguably the biggest 3D print story of the year thus far has been confirmed today: global computer technology giant Dell is to purchase a huge batch of 3D printers from Zortrax. You might remember Zortrax, the Polish 3D print manufacturer whose M200 plug and print 3D printer launched to great fanfare through a major Kickstarter campaign last summer.
Well, Dell has agreed to take a whooping 5,000 M200s off Zortrax’s hands to be used in its central and East Asian offices. The first load of models will be up and running by the end of first quarter 2014.
The word is, Dell will be using the models for a huge amount of rapid prototyping, as it is more practical and manageable than utilising a small number of large-volume machines. As Zortrax CEO Rafal Tomasiak puts it:
For a designer who prints a large number of prototypes it is much more useful to use 10 smaller printers on one desk, which operate simultaneously, rather than one with a larger build volume.
The M200 retails at $1,899 (around £1144) a pop from Zortrax’s website. It packs a 205 x 205 x 190 mm build volume, three speed modes and capabilities to support ABS, PC-ABS and Nylon printing, all in a stable, stylish aluminium frame.
Its interest piqued by the printer’s capabilities, Dell originally contacted Zortrax midway through the Kickstarter campaign, though, at that point, the company did not have the mass production abilities to meet such a massive order. Now that the company has hit its Kickstarter goal and fulfilled its obligations, however, it has the power to be Dell’s main 3D printer provider.
Though its main base remains in Olsztyn, Poland, Zortrax’s arms already reach around the globe, with its logistics and production centre supplied by a third party company in Hong Kong. This latest piece of business will add even more muscle to Zortrax’s growing international reputation. It looks like MakerBot and 3D Systems have a major competitor in the global desktop 3D printer market.