UK 3D printing filament brand rigid.ink has announced that, after five years in the business, they are ceasing their filament supply activity. The company will, however, continue to serve the 3D printing world in new ways.
“The market is changing, the big-budget players are moving in, driving exciting advances in polymers for the filament extrusion market – this is good news for the 3D printing industry as a whole,” said Ed Tyson, founder of rigid.ink, who welcomes the changes in the market, but is also aware that his company would be unable to compete in the future.
“I’d like to extend a huge thank you to our customers whom we’ve loved to serve and help with their projects over the years, I understand this will be immensely disappointing to many, but this isn’t the end,” Ed explained. “rigid.ink’s business model, as it stands, just would not have been profitable after growing costs, and increased competition squeezed margins beyond sustainability.”
Not willing to swap in an inferior product line under the established and trusted rigid.ink name, Ed refused to sell the company or cut costs to make the business profitable. “These are unfortunately common practices in similar situations, but our customers trust us – so that just wasn’t acceptable to me.” he explained.
The team behind rigid.ink intend to remain active in 3D printing. Among their first activities, they have recently released a universal technical support service to help 3D printer users get the best possible results, combined with an online training suite. This available to anyone, with any printer, anywhere in the world.
“It’s basically the same high-quality technical support we’ve built up a name for, now available to everyone for a low monthly fee,” Ed said, explaining that the service is the best way to help as many people with their printing as possible.
3dpbm’s Index, the 3D Printing Business Directory, currently counts as many as 123 3D printer filament manufacturers (and this number does not include pure consumable resellers). As the AM and 3D printing market continues to evolve it appears clear that some consolidation will inevitably occur. As Ed Tyson stated, this is not necessarily bad for consumers.
In such a young, yet crowded market segment, providing a great product, unfortunately, is only the first half of the equation. Companies need to adequately communicate their offer to the market and beyond it. This often requires significant investments, that are not always accounted for in a profitable business plan.
At the same time, operators need to be able to adapt to this rapidly changing market and leverage their cumulative experience to identify the next viable opportunities in AM. Our goal at 3dpbm is to provide a virtual window on the world of 3D printing for these great products while, at the same time, support market operators in identifying those opportunities as the arise. Collaborating closely and regularly with key industry operators is necessary to provide information that is beneficial to the entire AM industry and beyond it.