Why 3D printing?

June 18, 2014

Recently, my son was mowing the lawn when a tie rod broke, completely disabling our lawn tractor. With our recent strategic alliance with 3D Systems, I immediately thought that if I only had a 3D printer, I could just print out a new part, install it and get the tractor up and running in no time.

We are indeed excited to announce our official entrance into the market as the first of its kind – our partnership with 3D Systems makes Konica Minolta the first original equipment manufacturer in the United States to offer 3D printing solutions through the traditional printer and office equipment sales channels. As a result of this new alliance, we plan to offer customers a full suite of 3D printing services and solutions.

We are entering the market now because we continually strive to innovate and push into new markets. According to a report issued by IDC in late 2013, “the worldwide 3D printer market will experience tremendous unit and revenue growth from 2012 to 2017, with compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 59% and 29%, respectively.”

IDC noted that 3D printing is moving from a curiosity niche to mainstream adoption, and cited Konica Minolta as one of the companies stepping to the plate this year to take one of the first swings.
3D printing not only aligns well with commercial printing, but our customers in that space are very interested in what 3D printing has to offer moving forward. If we can deliver such solutions to them within our existing infrastructure, it streamlines the entire adoption process and allows us to be a one-stop-shop.

3D printing also has many synergies within our business model, including the demand for IT services, software integration and workflow similarities to the manufacturing space. Joining this market seems to be not only a natural fit for Konica Minolta, but also for our areas of expertise and our customers. 3D printing will truly change how we consume digital imaging and we look forward to what is to come.

And perhaps one day I can print out tractor parts for my son on demand.

Kevin Kern
Senior Vice President, Digital Transformation and Emerging Technologies

Kevin is responsible for setting the direction and strategy to accelerate Konica Minolta’s customer adoption of digital transformation, also overseeing the software and solutions planning functions, including emerging technologies along with oversight of US R&D and Business Intelligence Services (BIS) operations. In previous roles, he drove the BIS and Product Planning organization to ensure the growth and innovation of the company’s technology, solutions, vertical markets and ECM practice, and led corporate marketing initiatives and new product planning and development for Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.