Roboze announced a unique method of using their equipment: by subscription.
The Italian company has been producing high-temperature capable 3D printing equipment for several years, culminating in their flagship device, the ARGO 500. This large device is capable of 3D printing in production mode using advanced materials, such as carbon fiber-infused PEEK.
Normally high-end 3D printers are acquired in only two ways: direct purchase and leasing. In a leasing arrangement, the client would be able to spread the cost of the machine over a period of years and thus avoid a big cash spike in the acquisition reporting period. One thing many companies desperately seek is to level out expenses: big financial spikes up and down make investors nervous — especially prospective investors.
Now Roboze has developed a very intriguing solution to this dilemma, no doubt after consulting with many clients. Instead of leasing, they now offer a subscription service for the ARGO 500.
At first you might think this could be similar to what’s been happening in the software world, where slowly all one-time purchases are being replaced with hefty monthly subscription fees.
That’s not exactly what Roboze is doing here. Instead of a fixed monthly fee, the subscription is based on how much you use the ARGO 500. Roboze’s Ilaria Guicciardini told us:
“It depends on the configuration but a lot depends on the customer’s production plan. The more they produce the less they pay for the machine. This solution is designed to let end users worry only about production while Roboze helps them optimize part design, recognize key applications to optimize production, along with daily support and updates, all included.”
Subscription plans are tailored, based on customer’s actual needs, allowing them to focus on producing and selling high value components while the Roboze Argo Subscription plan takes care of the rest.
But there’s more to it than just using the machine. The subscription provides additional features. According to Guicciardini:
“It is all included: Argo500, Warranty, Software, Materials, Support for Production, Engineering Design, Design for Additive Manufacturing, and Consulting.”
This is important: the materials are included! While you sometimes may get support and occasionally consulting services bundled with a high-end 3D printer, I’ve yet to hear anyone offering materials within the subscription fee.
The subscription is annual, and can be renewed up to three years. It’s available today.
My thought is that this is a very strategic move by Roboze. Today there are countless companies that are still skittish about entering the world of 3D printing, particularly if they are asked to front a huge bill just to get started. By offering the ARGO 500 and an ecosystem with a subscription, these nervous clients could easily get started without committing to more money than their likely use the machine.
It could be a deeper way for clients to “try before they buy”. If a client truly discovered useful applications for the ARGO 500 during their subscription year, they might convert to a purchase model afterwards.
Or not. That’s the flexibility of this approach, and it’s something I think more 3D printer manufacturers should offer.