In October of this year, we were excited as Canon Europe announced that it would finally become an official 3D printer manufacturer. Their first foray into the industry happened in February, when they became a distributor for 3D Systems in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The fact that they hadn’t gone into 3D printing earlier was surprising; they produce just about every other imaging technology, from cameras to copiers to telescope lenses, and pride themselves on their commitment to offering the latest technology innovations. When they announced in October that they were in the process of prototyping their own 3D printer, not much detail was given beyond the fact that it would feature a resin-based lamination system and was expected to offer competitive build speeds and cost-cutting benefits. As of yet we do not know when the printer will be on the market. But today Canon showed that they’re serious about entering the 3D printing market with the announcement that they have joined the 3D Printing Association (3DPA).
The 3D Printing Association, which is the global trade association for the 3D printing industry, is member-funded and represents everyone from designers to manufacturers and retailers. Its members benefit from the organization’s support in ways that include seed capital for new ventures, discounts to conferences and other events, and invitations to speak at some of the major events in the industry. Their newest member is Canon’s European subsidiary, whose reach extends into 116 countries as the European sales and marketing branch for the global corporation.
“By joining the association,” said 3DPA membership director Ian Ferguson, “Canon Europe demonstrates its commitment to the industry and we look forward to working with them and all our members to improve understanding of the technology, help with awareness and education and influence the regulatory environment.”
Not only has the company accepted membership, but they have already placed one of their employees on the advisory board. Christopher Blake, 3D printing sales and marketing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), will join the European board. Blake’s admittance to the board is still in the process, but is nearing completion and is expected to be officially announced next month.
Canon has been around since 1937, and chances are that just about everyone reading this has used their products in some form or another. I have an ancient Canon camera that still works as well as it did on the day I bought it, which gives me confidence that their 3D printers, once they are finally released, should be high quality. Their membership to 3DPA shows that they’re serious about becoming a major player in the 3D printing industry, and 3DPA’s acceptance of Blake as a board member shows that the industry is serious about Canon as well.
Let’s hear your thoughts on 3DPA’s latest member in the Canon 3DPA forum thread on 3DPB.com.