3D Systems to End-of-Life the Cube, its Entry-Level Consumer 3D Printer
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
3D Systems has announced that it will discontinue production of its $999 consumer 3D printer, the Cube. The move reflects management's plans to focus its resources and strategic initiatives on near-term opportunities and profitability. Availability of the CubePro 3D printer — designed for desktop engineering, educational and professional applications — will continue uninterrupted.
The company will continue to sell the existing inventory of Cube printers. Ongoing support and sale of materials for Cube customers will be provided through a new e-commerce platform on the company's primary corporate domain, 3dsystems.com. The consumer platform Cubify.com will be closed on Jan. 31, 2016, and the company's line of retail products, including phone cases and jewelry that were previously available on Cubify.com, will be discontinued.
Management believes a greater focus on manufacturing applications and delivering new and enhanced manufacturing systems can drive adoption, yield higher returns on investment and increase earnings. As part of this shift away from consumer products, management expects revenue to be impacted by less than 2 percent and profitability to improve. In addition, management expects to record a charge in the fourth quarter in the range of approximately $19 million to $25 million related primarily to inventory writedowns and related purchase commitments.
"In connection with our ongoing review of our business and industry, we believe that the most meaningful opportunities today are in professional and industrial settings, from the product design shop to the operating room to the factory floor," said Andy Johnson, interim CEO and chief legal officer, 3D Systems. "We are focusing our efforts on enabling professionals and companies to improve their designs, transform their workflows, bring innovative products to market and drive new business models."
In other news, 3D Systems has announced the ongoing evolution of its MultiJet Printing (MJP) family of 3D printers with the release of the new high-throughput ProJet MJP 3600 Series. The company has also introduced performance-enhancing features for its multi-material ProJet MJP 5500X printer, as well as announced the availability of two advanced elastomeric materials.
The new ProJet MJP 3600 Series prints at up to twice the speed of the previous generation. With powerful data processing capabilities that support files up to 250 percent larger, the ProJet MJP 3600 brings enhanced productivity to a wide range of prototyping, casting and end-use part production needs. The series' VisiJet M3 plastic materials deliver incredible detail, high temperature resistance and watertight surfaces perfect for fluid flow visualization, design verification and snap-fit assemblies. The ProJet MJP 3600 Series includes models for printing detailed wax patterns for jewelry casting and precise patterns for other lost wax foundry casting applications. It also answers the need in dental applications for precise models and casting wax ups. With the ability to print in USP Class VI capable, bio-compatible materials, the ProJet MJP 3600 can be used in advanced health-care applications, including drill-and-cut guides for dental and medical procedures. The ProJet MJP 3600 Series is now available for order and anticipated to ship by the end of January 2016.
3D Systems also announced the immediate availability of two elastomeric materials for its multi-material ProJet MJP 5500X, VisiJet CE-BK elastomeric black and VisiJet CE-NT elastomeric natural. These materials offer more than 650 percent elongation properties, excellent tear resistance and complete elastic recovery. The release of these materials is coupled with new high-resolution and high-speed print modes for the ProJet MJP 5500X, immediately shipping in all new printers and offered as a free upgrade for existing ProJet MJP 5500X owners through a series of software installations. With the ability to dynamically alter the composition of rigid and flexible materials, the ProJet MJP 5500X is engineered to support complex applications that require varying mechanical properties throughout the part. This printer is also suitable for a wide range of applications requiring rubber-like functionality, as well as delicate medical models designed to mimic thinly walled tissue and organs.
3D Systems also announced that its new ProJet MJP 2500 Series is now in beta testing following a successful alpha test with select customers. Combining professional-grade 3D printing capabilities with an affordable, office-friendly footprint and easy part processing, the ProJet MJP 2500 Series is designed to enable a broader range of professionals to create precision parts without leaving their workplace. The company plans to announce commercial availability of this series of 3D printers at a later date.
"MultiJet Printing is known for its fine feature detail, excellent value for money and wide range of advanced materials," said Mark Wright, executive vice president and COO, 3D Systems. "With these new products, we're enhancing customer capabilities in applications from prototyping to industrial product design to end-use part production. We are excited to bring our customers high-quality 3D printing solutions to help them iterate and innovate faster than ever before."