Ingram Micro (IM) is testing the waters of the 3D printer market with two new supplier deals and an expanded presence for the technology inside its two-year old Document Imaging business unit.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

January 23, 2014

3 Min Read
Ingram39s Kirk Robinson says channel partners can sell 3D printing technology into vertical markets
Ingram's Kirk Robinson says channel partners can sell 3D printing technology into vertical markets.

Ingram Micro (IM) is testing the waters of the 3D printer market with two new supplier deals and an expanded presence for the technology inside its two-year old Document Imaging business unit.

The distributor is featuring Rock Hill, S.C.-based 3D Systems’ and New York-headquartered MakerBot’s technology as its anchor offerings in a portfolio of 3D printer equipment priced at less than $5,000. The 3D Systems Cube, a consumer-level 3D printer for home use, and the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, positioned as an affordable professional-class unit, are the first 3D printer products in Ingram’s lineup, with additional vendors and products expected later this year.

Ryan Grant, Ingram Document Imaging and Managed Print senior director, said the market for 3D printing is wide open for channel partners selling into certain vertical segments.

“Document imaging solutions—and in particular 3D printers—represent a growing and widely untapped sales and service opportunity for our channel partners who sell into vertical markets such as education and retail, as well those targeting the needs of SMBs,” said Grant. “What’s more is that 3D printers complement a variety of specialized software applications that are utilized in the design space, and offer channel partners a differentiated sales and ongoing service opportunity that many don’t realize is available to them.”

At this point, 3D printing’s niche appeal mostly has been confined to business use—the machines can produce prototypes, design molds and even engage in onesy-twosy production such as smartphone cases, toys and jewelry—but the consumer market hasn’t picked up on it. As a case in point, 3D Systems this week signed a deal with Hershey to use 3D printing technology for confectionaries

Still, researcher Gartner figures the segment has plenty of room to grow, forecasting enterprise and consumer 3D printer shipments by 2017 to rise to some 1.1 million units from the current 38,000 units, and spending to reach $5.7 billion from the current $288 million.

To catch a portion of that wind, Ingram said it has mapped its new 3D printer business to vertical markets where it anticipates the greatest demand and potential: consumer, education, health care, retail, manufacturing and design. The distributor said it intends to build market awareness of the technology and the opportunity, promoting its 3D printer vendors and identifying and training the right mix of channel partners.

“Ingram Micro’s new 3D portfolio is supported by the expertise, enablement and resources channel partners need to more effectively and efficiently sell 3D printer solutions as part of their total solutions portfolio,” said Kirk Robinson, Ingram Commercial Markets and Global Accounts senior vice president and general manager. “This new product portfolio will help drive new sales opportunities for our channel partners and inspire more cross-selling throughout our organization and within the vertical markets we serve and specialize in.”

Ingram’s Document Imaging unit also includes vendors Brother, Canon, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Kofax, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox (XRX).

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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