“The partnership will initially be available to customers in Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK, with wider availability across Europe during 2015,” says Jacques van Wyk, the COO of Ricoh SA.
The companies say the deal will initially focus on customers in the education sector and expand to include support customers in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Leapfrog 3D Printers are already entrenched in the educational sector via their 3D print packages and curriculum materials. Ricoh offers tailored print installation, management, training and support contracts, which should play a major role in Leapfrog 3D’s expansion within these areas.
“Ricoh Europe shares our mission of adding real value for businesses and schools by providing them with a combination of the right tools and services,” said Mathijs Kossen, the CEO of Leapfrog 3D Printers. “Besides high-quality 3D printers, we also offer complete solutions that provide a customized mix of 3D printing hardware, software, print materials, and learning platforms to different user groups.”
Last year, Ricoh launched an additive manufacturing business in Japan, with a strategy that includes opening a pair of Ricoh Rapid Fab facilities there which offer 3D print services to customers and act as a spearhead for research and development into 3D printing technologies and applications.
Ricoh says the move into 3D printing is a “natural evolution” coming out of their established 3D print head development and manufacturing operation. The company already acts as an OEM provider for a number of 3D printer manufacturers and offers a range of technologies in prototyping and molding. The company also says the deal is an outgrowth of their experience using 3D printers for in-house product design processes over more than 20 years.
“As 3D printer capabilities develop, Ricoh customers in Europe are beginning to evaluate the role that this potentially game-changing technology can play in their organizations,” says Olivier Vriesendorp, the director of product marketing at Ricoh Europe.
Ricoh, the global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services, is headquartered in Tokyo and the Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions worldwide.
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