Verbatim Poses a Huge Challenge for 3D Printer Filament Manufacturers

By on May 31st, 2015 in Ideas, materials

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If you’re a vendor of 3D printer filament, you’d better watch out for Verbatim. 

Recently there’s been a small explosion of 3D printing filament vendors, each attempting to capitalize on the growth of inexpensive 3D printer sales. Typically these new entrants are established plastics manufacturers, perhaps makers of fishing line, plastic tubing or bookbinding spines, who wish to get more value out of their production lines by making a new product. 

However, now they have to compete with Verbatim, a household name around the world, who made their fame earlier by selling recording media of all kinds. 

Verbatim still offers storage media, 2D printing toner and other products, but 3D printing is a new line of business for the company, and they expect it to grow significantly. 

Verbatim, if you don’t know, is owned by Mitsubishi, a very large Japanese manufacturing conglomerate that has operations in a variety of industries. 

But why should filament manufacturers be concerned? There’s more than a few reasons. 

First, Verbatim is a well-established brand name that consumers understand provides quality products. It would be hard for an uninformed consumer to judge <nameless company> against Verbatim, a company they know well. 

Second, Verbatim’s relationship with Mitsubishi permits access to the parent company’s vast library of patented materials, many of which could suddenly become unusual specialty 3D printer filaments. We’re told Mitsubishi’s library of materials exceeds 12,000 in number! 

Third, Verbatim has a comprehensive existing network of distributors and sales channels for their existing products. They have deals signed with retailers and distributors to sell their products; 3D printing filament simply becomes another item  in the catalog. In other words, Verbatim can instantly turn on a sales and distribution system far more vast than any other 3D printer filament manufacturer. 

Fourth, Verbatim inherits the quality manufacturing processes from its owner, Mitsubishi. These well-practiced processes could ensure that Verbatim is able to reliably and efficiently produce very high quality product by simply doing the standard approaches they always use. 

Fifth, Verbatim, through its owner, is capitalized to a far greater degree than any other 3D printer filament manufacturer. For example, should Verbatim wish to launch a global advertising campaign to raise awareness of their product, they can. They can fund the development and marketing of new products, attend trade shows, buy out competitors or basically do whatever they need to do. 

And so, this is why we feel current and hopeful 3D printer manufacturers could be slightly distressed over the appearance of Mitsubishi / Verbatim in the market. It could mean we may see a lot more specialty filaments emerge as vendors attempt to differentiate themselves.

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo 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!