Taiwan’s XYZprinting has become a mainstay in desktop 3D printing, often seen in a leadership position drawing from its strong, varied line of desktop 3D printers available at a variety of price points and capabilities. At the recent TCT Show in Birmingham, the company was showing off its latest introduction, the first full-color offering in desktop extrusion-based 3D printing, the da Vinci Color, among much of the rest of its line. I caught up with Cin-Yee Ho, Marketing Manager and PR Manager, Europe, XYZprinting during the busy event and appreciated the opportunity to have her guide me through the latest catalog of offerings from the prolific company.

“It took a while to learn our identity,” she explained as we looked over the expansive offerings from the company. XYZprinting, based in Asia, has been working to make itself known in the European and American markets as well.

“We have been working for three and a half years in Europe, building our brand. For us to enter this market, which is quite competitive, starting from zero, makes us very proud of where we are now.”

XYZprinting is frequently seen among the unit sales leaders in desktop 3D printers. Market strategies and customer targeting have been key to the company’s leading approach – particularly as the focus on the consumer market has seen them leave some competition behind them as their competitors switch their own focus.

“It is not so hard to be number one because we target the consumer; but then competitors follow suit, and how do you keep ahead? Our CEO has foreseen the limit, he had that experience in 2D printing. Survival there was jumping into 3D printing. Combining 2D knowledge with 3D printing, he understands what consumers want, and we have worked to develop that,” Ho explained.

Color has, of course, been a big focus throughout the 3D printing industry recently, and with the full CMYK capabilities of the da Vinci Color, XYZprinting has anticipated a need and provided a desktop solution. Not, mind, that it’s been an easy process.

“It has been a long road in R&D, with a lot of adjusting and testing to jet ink on the layers and the filament,” she said. “We needed to develop plastic that could immediately absorb the ink and lock in the color. It must be water resistant. This method is different from a powder base that only does the top layer and requires post-processing; this is right out of the printer, you can take a build off and your fingers have no ink. This is 360 degree full color.”

The only area of a print not in full color is the bottom layer of a print, as this needs to adhere to the print bed. Every other part, including internal structures, can be produced in any color.

Rather than the consumer, the da Vinci Color is targeted for use by designers, as its price point might indicate. As we looked over a full-color 3D printed mask, Ho noted that the company was recently in Italy, showing the new machine in an area “rich with designers.” Applications for full-color 3D printing in design include making models and prototypes and allowing for that capability in-house.

“People want things in-house, and desktop 3D printing can bring a print down from €100 to €2. They can do this with a €3,500 machine; this is not cheap, it’s not for fun, but it’s a tool for SMEs,” she explained.

Ho noted that during the first day of TCT Show, many other manufacturers of desktop 3D printers came to their booth to see their new color tech for themselves. The technology behind the da Vinci Color is unique as well, and patent-protected.

“We hold patents. This technology is owned by XYZprinting. Copying may happen, but not legally. This gives us the confidence to keep our competitors behind us,” she said.

In addition to the front-and-center da Vinci Color showcase, the booth featured two islands of technology, one with the company’s FFF (FDM) offerings and one featuring their SLA products.

“With FDM we are almost unbeatable on price, targeted for consumers,” she told me. “There is low-cost, silent technology for kids and classrooms. Children may ask for more noise, but it is nice for teachers to have quiet operation; and they take only 75W of power to operate.”

These child-friendly 3D printers, with an enclosed build for safety, are sold even in toy stores as XYZprinting keeps a focus on the consumer market even as many desktop 3D printer manufacturers have been leaving that area to target educational and professional users. The educational market plays into the XYZ approach as well, as Ho noted the use of many types of da Vinci 3D printers in schools, but this company also hopes to see students want to use their machines outside the classroom and in their own living rooms.

Among other offerings on display at the booth were most of the 3D printers available for the company; a shipping mishap kept at least one 3D printer and display setup from being included on the show floor, but the many other machines proved more than enough to keep visitors busy, and have indeed kept me busy before. Among these were the Nobel range of SLA 3D printers, offering value in jewelry and dental applications. While the dental industry has been making increasing use of 3D printing, proving a fertile application for the technology, Ho acknowledged that XYZprinting is “quite late” in bringing solutions to this market. The company is looking for distributors in the complex UK market, and she noted that TCT Show had, on that front, “been a very good show for us.”

As XYZprinting continues on its path toward leadership across a variety of applications for desktop 3D printing, the ambitious company is continuing to broaden its offerings and is prepared to work hard to establish itself as a manufacturer of low-cost, high-quality machines. By understanding and embracing the identity it has created for itself, the company is showcasing a strategic approach on a variety of fronts in 3D printing.

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[All photos: Sarah Goehrke]

 

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