Top News for the Week of 12/30/2013 – Ricoh Supplying 3D Print Heads, Top Stories of 2013, More


Photo credit: Ennor / / CC BY-NC-SA

As we wrote two weeks ago, the list of 2D printer makers involved in 3D printing continues to grow. This week we report that Ricoh is also involved. In an investor report, 3D-printer giant Stratasys reveals: “In particular, we rely on a sole supplier, Ricoh Printing Systems America, Inc. or Ricoh, for the print heads for our PolyJet 3D printers. Under the terms of our agreement with Ricoh, we purchase printer heads and associated electronic components, and receive a non-transferable, non-exclusive right to assemble, use and sell these purchased products under Ricoh’s patent rights and trade secrets.” Ricoh was apparently supplying 3D printing technology – based on its inkjet-printing technology – to Objet Technologies, which then merged with Stratasys.

Ricoh joins other 2D printer vendors Canon (development stage and distributor), Konica Minolta (distributor for 3D Systems), Hewlett-Packard (development stage), Xerox (developer for 3D Systems), and Epson (development stage) as either a developer and/or distributor of 3D printing technology.

Top Stories of 2013

Our top stories for 2013 were:

Overall this year in the digital-imaging industry, we saw some signs of recovery among both vendors and printing volumes, as well as vendors diversifying into complimentary product lines, such as digital signage, projection systems, and of course 3D printing.

Along the way, the office inkjet segment, fueled by introductions from Hewlett-Packard, Brother, and Memjet, made aggressive forays into business printing, while companies such as Ricoh, Konica Minolta, and Canon moved inkjet upscale into the light production-printing marketplace. Meanwhile, traditional copier vendors continued to integrate the MFP with more sophisticated work processes, not just automatically routing scanned documents to destinations, for instance, but extracting information from those documents to make work processes faster and more efficient.

Vendors also continued to bolster their A4 MFP product lines, and in a very interesting partnership, Sharp Corporation of Japan struck up a partnership with HP to supply the traditional desktop printer company with its toner-based copier-developed A3 MFPs. Virtually all vendors now also have some form of print-to-and-scan-from their MFPs from mobile tablets and smartphones, with many vendors’ printers and MFPs’ also supporting Apple AirPrint. Last but certainly not least, Samsung Electronics of South Korea made an impressive push into the North American copier market as well as into the desktop printer market.

We’re sure they’re will be lots of interesting new developments in 2014, so please stay tuned.

Happy New Year and best to you in 2014!

Terry and Kathy Wirth
Wirth Consulting

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