Controversy at Zortrax Suggests More Scrutiny Required

Zortrax CEO Rafal Tomasiak receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst and Young

Zortrax CEO Rafal Tomasiak receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst and Young

A damning report in TechCrunch reveals Poland-based 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax lied about a major sales contract - and demonstrates everyone should spend more effort scrutinizing vendors. 

The gist of the controversy is that in early 2014 word came that US computer giant DELL had placed an order for a then-astonishing 5,000 3D printers from the unknown Zortax company in Poland. At the time we thought the deal was “curious”. 

But it turns out there never was a deal with DELL, according to a detailed investigation by TechCrunch’s John Biggs. Further, Biggs proposes that Zortrax’s intent was to leverage the sham deal into investment and funding of the nascent Zortrax. Evidently the plan succeeded, and Zortrax was able to land significant investment, from which they built a reasonably large and successful company. 

Today Zortrax is well-known for providing a high-quality machine that is one of the more reliable desktop 3D printers you can purchase. 

But it appears the company may have fibbed along the way to that success. 

Regardless, that was in the past and today we must look forward. 

My thought is that such actions suggest additional levels of scrutiny should be applied to 3D printer manufacturers of all levels. I’ve personally experienced “fibbing” from vendors large and small and you may have as well, although you may not have realized it. 

It’s a natural thing to do: there is significant competition in the 3D printing market today, through the entire spectrum from high-end machines to inexpensive desktop units. Due to the competition, some companies will thrive, some will survive and others, well, they may fade away. 
But a few of those troubled companies will certainly bend the truth, sometimes significantly, to prevent their failure in the market or create success where none is deserved. 

It’s the duty of all of us to take claims with a grain of salt until proven otherwise. Ask questions. Examine sample prints. Ask more questions. Prove it makes sense, technically and financially. Ask even more questions. 

And most importantly, if at a trade show, ask to open the door to the machine and look inside. If you’re told you cannot, be very suspicious. 

Because there’s nothing inside. 

This may sound ridiculous, but I’ve actually seen “machines” on show floors that are merely a case with literally nothing inside. A “machine” being marketed as a product. 

Some companies will stop at nothing to achieve success. Beware of them. 

Via TechCrunch
Image Credit: Zortrax

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!