3D printer company MakerBot has just released two new products that are aimed toward professionals and teachers: the MakerBot Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+.
The new products, which MakerBot called as next-generation variants to its existing array of 3D printers, are largely distinguished by their improved specifications and better reliability.
Observers believe that this development is prompted by the proliferation of cheap 3D printers in the market today. This purportedly caused the failure of MakerBot’s premium 3D home printing products, leading to a reexamination of its business model.
To put some context into the recent product release, one should remember that MakerBot used to be one of the market leaders in the 3D printing industry, boasting an 80 percent revenue growth in 2014. A year later, its profit dramatically fell, causing the company to close its facilities in Brooklyn, New York.
In large part, therefore, the Replicator+ and Replicator Mini+, are comeback products for a company gunning for a turnaround. These two printers represent a shift in strategy, which now appears to be more focused and specialized.
The company is steering clear of the mass-market as it transitions from making small 3D printers to a sophisticated one for the pros and the education consumers. One only needs to look at the company’s website to see that the consumer-oriented content has made way for more serious product content.
“We have gone through a cultural shift here at MakerBot over the past year, where listening and understanding the needs of our customers are cornerstones of our company,” Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot, said. “As a result, we’ve gained an in-depth understanding of the wider needs of professionals and educators that has informed our product development process.”
The Replicator+ might look similar to its predecessors, but MakerBot states that almost all components have been rebuilt and reengineered. Key features include an extruder motion system that guarantees ease of use, faster performance and greater precision. MakerBot also stressed that this pro variant will fit in a desk and will not require a back room or a huge space to operate. This printer is capable of producing more volume for printed objects of up to 11.6 x 7.6 x 6.3 inches in dimension.
The MakerBot Replicator Mini+, meanwhile, is an upgraded iteration to the Replicator Mini. The printer is a bit bigger than this older printer, but it comes with a number of technical improvements as well. The printing machine will also ship with a proprietary software to seamlessly integrate 3D printing in the classroom.
The MakerBot Replicator+ and the MakerBot Replicator Mini+ will retail for $2,499 and $1,299, respectively. Consumers can, however, take advantage of introductory pricing, which is $1,999 for the Replicator+ and $999 for the Mini+. The offer is good until Oct. 31.
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