What’s Up Between Ricoh and Stratasys?

Ricoh and Stratasys?

Apparently there is a new distributor of Stratasys equipment in New Zealand: Ricoh! 

I thought this is a strange relationship, as Ricoh is an indirect competitor of Stratasys in that the produce a line of capable industrial 3D printers in addition to their vast empire of 2D printers and copiers. 

Apparently in New Zealand Ricoh did previously market Stratasys’ MakerBot line in that country, but now they are taking over marketing the entire Stratasys line of equipment, which would include their FDM and PolyJet equipment. 

Previously, Stratasys used regional provider, Australia-based Tasman Machinery, to market their products. Ricoh now takes over all sales and support for Stratasys gear, including for previously sold equipment. 

I say Ricoh is an “indirect” competitor to Stratasys as they produce a line of SLS nylon powder 3D printers for industry, and Stratasys does not. 

However, that’s going to change, as we learned recently that Ricoh intends on producing new equipment capable of 3D printing in metal and ceramics

Those are two capabilities Stratasys does not currently offer, nor do I suspect they are working on them internally. It seems there is a complementary offering here, between these two companies. 

What I’m wondering is whether the arrangement in New Zealand is a test of a larger relationship? If so, there are some huge potential synergies. Ricoh’s gigantic sales network would be a massive gain for Stratasys, while Stratasys could leverage Ricoh’s complementary products. Stratasys could also make enormous use of Ricoh’s service staff, who are far more widely deployed than Stratasys’ existing squad. It may be they are testing this arrangement in New Zealand before unleashing it on the remainder of the planet. 

On the other hand, the story might be a lot simpler. It could be that Stratasys was somehow dissatisfied with Tasman Machinery’s service and needed to quickly swap in a better option to handle their local affairs. Occam’s razor suggests the latter. 

But then, things are not always what they seem. 

Via Channel Life

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