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Solidimension Finally on a Roll

August 31, 2004

Filed under: additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 08:54

Since 1999, Solidimension of Be’erot Itzhak, Israel has been developing a 3D printer based on the lamination of PVC plastic. The unit is slightly larger than a desktop document printer and is priced at about $27,000 in Japan. It uses a pen plotter mechanism to deposit a solvent and to cut successive layers of plastic. The appearance of the models have improved dramatically over the recent past.

When I visited Solidimension in January 2001, the company was in the process of manufacturing 10 machines for beta testing. To the best of my knowledge, few of these machines were placed at customer sites. In March 2003, I was informed that the company was once again manufacturing 10 beta machines. Over this same period, the company had undergone several management changes and its direction and future were unclear.

The company is now on track, in a big way. Last year, Solidimension quietly formed a partnership with Graphtec Corp. of Yokohama, Japan. Graphtec is a leading manufacturer of precision imaging products for the sign, graphics, and CAD industries. In February 2004, it was announced that the two companies had signed an agreement for the distribution of Solidimension’s XD700 3D Printer in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Germany, France, and the UK. (On 28 September, Graphtec introduced the machine to the UK market at an exhibition in Birmingham, England.)

Most recently, the two companies signed an agreement whereby Solidimension would deliver 900 3D printers worth $18 million to Graphtec. That’s right: 900 of them! As of early August, the company had reportedly sold 85 machines, including a small number in Europe. The product is being sold by Graphtec under its own brand name in Asia Pacific and Europe.