This year, EnvisionTEC has already launched several new 3D printers, and it has notably increased its offerings for dental and orthodontic 3D printing recently. As a pioneer in SLA/DLP 3D printers, EnvisionTEC is a trusted supplier to a wide range of customers, and although its printers aren’t the cheapest, they also don’t skimp on quality, which is what has kept the company so successful even as SLA and DLP 3D printers drop in price elsewhere.
In November of last year, EnvisionTEC announced that it was releasing a new affordable desktop 3D printer called the Aria. At just under $7,000, the 3D printer still isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly more affordable and accessible for small businesses. Now EnvisionTEC has lowered the price of the Aria to $5,999 for North American customers.
“EnvisionTEC has been known for its unwavering commitment to delivering professional-grade 3D printers for more than 15 years, which is why we consistently remain a 3D printing leader,” said EnvisionTEC CEO Al Siblani. “The Aria remains faithful to our mission of delivering a premium product, but at a more accessible price that gives users a taste of EnvisionTEC’s outstanding quality and reliability.”
The Aria boasts an industrial-grade UV LED light engine, a dual-axis Z slide and a material tray made from optical glass rather than plastic. Z layer resolution can be set at 25, 35 or 50 microns, depending on the material used. The 3D printer comes with a choice of four materials from among EnvisionTEC’s most popular resins:
- EC500, a high-resolution lost wax casting material ideal for heavier jewelry pieces
- PIC100, a castable resin designed for intricate, delicate pieces
- QView, one of EnvisionTEC’s fastest materials, ideal for quick design verification
- RC90, a high heat-resistant, ceramic-containing material well-suited for tough, stiff parts
These aren’t the only materials the Aria can use, however; the 3D printer features an open materials system, though all materials must be certified for use by EnvisionTEC.
Currently, the Aria is only available online directly from the EnvisionTEC website. This is a change for the company, which typically employs a large network of resellers to sell its products. It’s interesting to think about what may have prompted the decision to sell this particular 3D printer directly from the website, and whether this signals a larger move toward direct selling for the company. Also notably, the Aria is only available currently to ship to North America and Europe. As this 3D printer is designed to be a more accessible printer that some of EnvisionTEC’s other machines, it’s odd that its availability is currently so limited. With such a wide range of resellers across the world, why not make the Aria available through them as well?
Resellers depend on the companies whose products they sell, and one wonders if any of EnvisionTEC’s resellers are at all uneasy with the decision to go with direct sales for this 3D printer, whose very affordability suggests that it will be a strong seller. Only time will tell if EnvisionTEC ends up selling any of its other 3D printers direct from its website only, but the choice to make the availability of the Aria so limited is an interesting one. Essentially we’re seeing a company come to grips with competitive pressure from lower cost systems. Turning to open materials would seem to reduce part costs. It would also let polymer companies and other partners introduce newer materials for innovative applications. Envisiontec may forgo some materials revenue here but puts itself on a solid footing for tackling the competition. Resellers, on the other hand, may not be terribly enthusiastic about this.
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