Our team encountered folks from a company called ZRapid, whom we learned much about - and you should too.
ZRapid is a company based in Suzhou, China (just west of Shanghai), and they happen to be one of China’s largest 3D printer companies.
How big are they? Some statistics:
- Founded 2011
- Team has been developing 3D printing technology since 1999
- Currently operates a 70,000 sq foot office and plant
- ISO 9001:2008 certified
- Claims a 40% marketshare in China!
But here’s the most important thing: they sell four different models of industrial-quality SLA (photo cured resin) 3D printers.
And they sell three different models of industrial-quality 3D metal printers.
And they sell an industrial-quality powder-based SLS 3D printer, too.
That’s a product lineup comparable to 3D Systems or Stratasys.
The SLA line is comprised of the SLA200, SLA300, SLA450, SLA500 and huge SLA660, which has a build volume of 600 x 600 x 300mm, one of the larger units I’ve seen for a resin-based machine. Even the small unit, the SLA200, has a build volume of 200 x 160 x 150mm, which is larger than some competitive units. These machines are laser-based, and can build between 30 and 100 grams of material per hour, depending on the specific model. The lasers carry a one-year warranty, too.
The single SLS machine, the SLS400, uses a 0.4mm laser beam to fuse PA12 and PA13 nylon powder. Like the SLA line, the SLS400 has a large build volume of 500 x 500 x 400mm.
The SLM150, SLM300 and SLM500 metal 3D printers distinguish Zrapid from most other 3D printer companies: very few can offer resin, powder and metal processes. In fact, I think only 3D Systems has a similar spread of technologies.
The SLM150’s nitrogen-filled build volume is only 150 x 150 x 200mm, but that is sufficient for many applications. For larger metal prints you could select the SLM300 (300 x 250 x 250mm) or the SLM500 (500 x 400 x 350mm). Each is power by a 200-400W laser system, capable of fusing Fe-based alloy, Aluminum alloy or Titanium alloy powder.
The company also produces management software to operated the machines, as well as supplying certified materials for all devices.
I mentioned above they claim a 40% marketshare in China, where they are one of the two leading companies. But that’s in China.
It seems, however, they are very interested in expanding their market into the west and other locations. They currently sell equipment in the US, Canada and Korea, but are looking to additional locations. We were told they are specifically looking for resellers for their equipment.
This could prove quite interesting for buyers, as their equipment is likely priced below - and perhaps far below - that of their western competitors. If they are able to mount a significant marketing presence in the West, buyers may see deals on 3D printing equipment, even if it isn’t from ZRapid: their appearance may cause competitive effects on the existing suppliers, leading to lower pricing.
Competition is good.