Channel partners have praised the introduction of HP Inc's new 3D printer duo, with one claiming it is the most exciting tech since the iPhone.
The printers, the Jet Fusion 3200 and the Jet Fusion 4200, range from $130,000 (£85,775) to $200,000 depending on the solutions packages, and sit firmly in the industrial market.
Although the vendor has announced the global launch of the printers today, and orders can be taken now, they will not be shipped until October in the UK, western Europe, the US and Canada. The printers will be available in the rest of Europe and APAC from the end of 2017.
Alex Tatham, managing director of HP distributor Westcoast, told CRN he thinks the printers are going to revolutionise manufacturing.
"I think it is going to be one of the most exciting changes in technology that we have had since the iPhone. It really is superbly exciting. It is going to transform manufacturing," he said.
"Is everyone going to get access to it? No. Are my current printing customers going to be the customers who sell these products? No. There is going to be a whole bunch of new channel players."
Worldwide marketing and sales strategy director for HP 3D printers, Alex Monino, said that the vendor will select existing reseller partners who meet its requirements to sell the printers, as well as specialist 3D printer resellers.
"It is a very specialised sale, and we need the right consulting skills to drive that," he explained. "We need resellers to have more room for the equipment, they need to provide samples to customers, provide support, application consultancy, training etc.
"A PC reseller will need to develop these skills, so in that sense it takes a lot of effort on their side."
The 3D printing market is expected to be worth $4.9bn by the end of 2016, estimated to increase to $22.4bn by 2020, according to Canalys.
Context says the desktop 3D printer market is growing at a much faster rate than the industrial 3D printer market, with 118 per cent growth year on year between 2010 and 2014. This is compared with a 20 per cent growth year on year in the same period in the industrial 3D printing market.
However, despite the increase in interest in the desktop 3D printing market, HP has no desire to enter into that sector of the market – at least not in the near future, said Monino.
"We don't see a future opportunity in the consumer market," he added. "We see more of a future in the commercial, enterprise side. We don't have immediate plans to have consumer-based units; not because we can't, but because we don't see that as a major opportunity."
HP platinum reseller DTP's managing director, Howard Hall, said he sees HP's entrance into the 3D market as a big opportunity for resellers.
"It's a massive game changer; I think that is where the market is moving. If you think of where the market is at the minute, it is all very high end and very expensive, or very cheap and very poor quality," he said.
"HP sort of fits in the middle, towards the high end in terms of quality, and towards the low end in terms of price. There are about 1,000 3D-printed pieces on the Airbus 350, so 3D is already out there. It is just a case of driving the quality up and the cost down."
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