This Week in Imaging: Why a Canon 3D Printer? Can Samsung Be Tops by 2020?

bee and flowerWe’ve been reporting on the state of the 3D-printing industry for quite some time, and it’s fascinating how on one hand the market-research industry repeatedly predicts significant growth potential for 3D printing, and on the other hand, we’ve been observing the trials and tribulations of 3D-printer industry-leader Stratasys and the value of the company. Last week, we noted that Stratasys continues to struggle and continues to gut what’s left of MakerBot after it acquired MakerBot last year.

MakerBot was one of the earliest 3D-printing innovators and is still one of the more well-known brands of 3D printers today. However, MakerBot has largely focused on the home, school, and hobbyist market, and it’s become apparent to us that this segment has the least growth potential.

That brings us to Canon and their forward-looking concept for 3D printing. Since Canon typically produces high-technology products for the business and professional marketplace, we’re not surprised that Canon’s first foray into 3D printing features a unique design that employs durable resins that are more suitable for short-run manufacturing (and prototyping) than many of the 3D printers of today that use powders or plastic filament. Canon’s concept makes good sense, as it’s targeted at the market segment that has the most potential for the growth: manufacturing. Moreover Canon – more so than most other technology vendors – excels at the design, manufacturing, sales, and support of professional imaging-related devices. Read more about Canon’s vision for 3D printing here.

Samsung is an awesome worldwide supplier of a huge variety of advanced-technology products and we really enjoy their many consumer products. They also have the potential to introduce products that are way out there and off the map with innovation – in other words, throw it against the wall and see if it sticks – for instance, consider the Tizen mobile OS and the prototype vase printer.

That said, Samsung’s vice president of Samsung Printing Solutions recently stated that its goal is to be number one in the printing industry by 2020. The firm made a similar announcement back in 2010 when it signaled its intention to expand from the desktop printer market into becoming a leader in the A3 copier/MFP market, introducing its first A3 copier/MFPs in 2011.

While we’ve long tested and admired Samsung desktop printers, we’re not sure about Samsung’s definition of  “number one” when you consider the state of the marketplace and the competition. Could it be: 1) sell more desktop printers than Hewlett-Packard?; or 2) earn more sales, supply, and service revenue than Canon, HP, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Sharp, and Xerox? It’s probably both. But either way, Samsung has a tough row to hoe, as HP has a much larger product line and market presence (that includes inkjet and Samsung is currently all toner-based), and the rest of the aforementioned vendors have professional worldwide sales and service organizations in place, and are also actively manufacturing both toner- and ink-based solutions for the printing market that shows the most growth potential – that is the “big-iron” specifically designed for production and package printing. Currently, Samsung is about number-five in terms of worldwide shipments of desktop printers and copier/MFPs. In the U.S. A3 copier market, Samsung had about 1 percent market in 2014 – that’s far behind vendors such as Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, and Sharp, but just behind HP and even a little ahead of Lexmark. When the entire U.S. black-and-white copier market is considered, Samsung’s share was better with about 8 percent market share.

Interestingly, Samsung has also signaled its interest in the 3D-printer market, filing a 3D-printing patent and expressing interest earlier this year – see our June 2015 story here for more.

Feature Stories

  • More on Canon’s 3D Printer: Faster Printing, More Precise and Durable Output – Read more here.
  • Amazon Announces New Toner- and Ink-Cartridge Replacement Service for Brother, Samsung Printers  – Read more here.

Office-Imaging News

  • Part Two Interview with Samsung Printing Solutions: Our Goal is to be Number One by 2020 – Read more here.
  • New Samsung Marketing Support Portal for Printer Partners; Emphasizes Commitment to A4 Printing – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

  • Print-Rite Sues Epson China for Alleged Ink-Cartridge Patent Infringement  – Read more here.
  • In Lawsuit, RAH Color Technologies Alleges Ricoh Infringed on its Color-Management Patents – Read more here.

Acquisitions

  • Print-Management Software Provider Sepialine Acquiring Technesis – Read more here.

Commercial- and Production-Printing News

  • HP Scores Larges Indigo-Press Deal to Data with RAKO Purchase – Read more here.
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