Jan 3, 2017 | By Benedict

Canon, the Japanese manufacturer of cameras, printers, and photocopiers, has introduced its ‘Marv' FDM 3D printer to the Chinese market. The Marv, short for ‘marvelous,’ was first launched in 2015 in countries such as South Korea, Germany, and Poland.

Considering the huge amount of discussion over HP’s new 3D printer last year, it’s easy to forget that another 2D printing specialist actually entered the 3D printing market an entire year earlier—especially easy to forget, in fact, since Japanese corporation Canon gave its Marv FDM 3D printer a frustratingly limited release, servicing the South Korean, German, and Polish markets, but opting against marketing the machine in many other countries. (In the UK, for example, Canon simply sells 3D Systems 3D printers.) Compare Canon’s approach to HP’s 3D printing fanfare, which involved the participation of mega-companies such as Nike, BMW, and Johnson & Johnson, and the Marv begins to seem perplexingly obscure.

But despite the Marv’s quiet introduction, it appears that Canon still has faith in its FDM 3D printer, as it recently announced it would be selling the machine in China—an important present and future market for the additive manufacturing industry. Early indications suggest that Canon will be marketing the Marv desktop 3D printer to the Chinese consumer and education market, with features such as a small footprint and light overall weight contributing to the printer’s suitability as a machine for home and classroom use. The Marv was available for around €799 ($830) in Europe, and the Chinese market can expect a similar price.

While Canon’s Marv 3D printer lacks some important feature—a heated build plate, for example—it does possess a few qualities that make it seem at least somewhat “marvelous,” if not spectacularly so. These include an enclosed build space for consistent temperature distribution, a “safe mode” that automatically pauses operation when the door is opened, and software that includes an “intelligent” printing mode for automatically orienting and positioning a 3D printed part to reduce filament use and printing time. The Marv’s 3D printing software also has an automatic adjustment mode and semi-automatic calibration mode.

The Marv is therefore not exactly feature-packed, but its light weight (8 kg), rigorous safety features, and quiet operation (less that 35 decibels) could entice first-time buyers or young makers in China. Canon China has also stated that the 3D printer will be marketed at the education sector, where 3D printing is just starting to make its way onto curricula, and where Canon can also market a new range of non-toxic PLA 3D printing materials. The Marv 3D printer’s build volume of 140mm x 140mm x 150mm is adequate for smaller prints, while its minimum layer height of 0.2 mm is standard.

According to IDC Research, 70,000 3D printers were shipped in China in 2015, and that figure is expected to reach 440,000 by 2020. Interestingly, IDC forecasts that 90% of these 3D printers will be desktop machines, hence Canon’s decision to pursue this area of 3D printing first and foremost.

Should the Marv 3D printer prove successful in China, it might not be long before Canon decides to market its FDM 3D printer—or indeed new machines—to other important countries in the global additive manufacturing market.



Posted in 3D Printer



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