We’ve just heard rumors that Shenzhen-based 3D printer manufacturer ANET has “gone under”. But is this true?
The initial news came from Twitter user SZHustle, an account that appears to be a worker in the 3D printing industry and located in Shenzhen, where such news would obviously break. The tweet said:
ANET was launched in 2016 and became one of the many low-cost desktop 3D printer manufacturers. Their current portfolio includes no less than ten different 3D printers, most being of the FFF variety, and one MSLA. They also sell a couple of 3D scanners and a selection of 3D print materials.
Scandal struck the company a few years ago after a series of mysterious fires beset users of their A8 machine. It’s thought there was a problem in the firmware that prevented detection of a thermal runaway, which started the fires. My understanding is that ANET fixed that issue long ago, and I haven’t heard of any disastrous fire incidents in a long time.
Companies do fail from time to time, and the low-cost 3D printer market is extraordinarily competitive. In fact, its competitiveness was what caused both MakerBot and Ultimaker, early pioneers in low cost desktop 3D printing, to switch modes years ago to pursue professional markets instead.
Today, that market is far more competitive, and it would not be too surprising if a company went down.
But is this true? Has ANET actually “gone under”?
There has been no official announcement from ANET, nor any mention of anything amiss on their website, which is still operating normally as far as I can tell.
I’ve also reached out to my contacts at ANET for comment, but haven’t received anything back yet due to timezone delays. If they do respond, I will post a followup story with the details.
In the absence of anything official, let’s look at other signals to see what might be going on here. Sometimes when companies shut down, no one at the company is left to tell anyone, so you have to examine other sources to determine the truth.
First, Twitter account SZhustle does not have a particularly stellar profile. The account was created in November 2021, only weeks ago, and has a mere eleven followers. None of the account’s other tweets seem to offer inside information, so it may not be a reliable source.
I looked at the company’s official Twitter account, which tweets very regularly. Typically they tweet about user successes with their equipment and materials.
However, their most recent tweets are a series of “clearance sales” during the mid-September period. There is silence after that date. It could be that the company was blowing out inventory in a last ditch attempt to gain revenue, or it could be just a pre-holiday sale. It’s hard to tell. But what’s more concerning is the lack of posts of any kind since September. That’s three months without any news, and during a holiday period when they should be making plenty of sales.
The company’s webshop is still operating, as far as I can tell. Printers, materials and parts are all listed for sale, and presumably you could buy some. However, you might wait until this matter is cleared up before doing so.
I checked the company’s official Facebook user group, and there was no mention of anything to do with company troubles. Posts were of a completely normal nature. This could be because there is nothing wrong, or because no one has heard this rumor yet.
Some posts indicate users have very recently purchased equipment, so that may indicate the company is still going strong. On the other hand, the equipment can be sold by others and it would take a while for a company shutdown to percolate through the distribution chain for equipment to become unavailable.
Finally, I checked the company’s official AliExpress store, a major distribution source for the company. It’s still up and offering a wide variety of 3D printers, parts and materials for sale. There is feedback from recent buyers, even from today. However, there are some curious things present. The company’s only MSLA 3D printer, the N4, doesn’t appear, even though linked from their menus. All FFF 3D printers are posted with tremendous discounts ranging from 38-55%. This aligns with the September clearance mentioned above, but also aligns with the going rates for this level of device.
What’s the bottom line here? I don’t know whether ANET is still operating or not. There are signals either way, and we won’t know for sure until official news arrives. If you know more about this situation, please reach out to us with anything you can tell us.