If you’ve a little desktop 3D printer chugging away nearby, you’ll have a set system of where you buy the filament for it from – either from the same place you bought the machine, or from a specialist website.
Yet news from Europe’s giant consumer products show, IFA Berlin, is signalling an end to this monopoly, with data storage company Verbatim launching a range of PLM and ABS filaments.
You’ll probably recognise the brand from the glut of USB thumb drives you have in your work drawer, or the stacks or re-writable blank CDs that are sitting dormant on your shelves, but the company has a secret weapon.
The products are manufactured in Japan under the guidance of Verbatim’s parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, which invests heavily in R&D across many diverse sectors.
Available in Europe in September, the Verbatim PLA range will come in 1.75mm and 3mm diameter filament and the Verbatim ABS material will come in 1.75mm diameter filament. Both will be offered in an assortment of vibrant colors as 1kg spools.
Verbatim sees the 3D printing market as enjoying unprecedented growth, following Gartner’s estimations that it will reach a value of $669 million in 2014, so it’s not as big a surprise as you would expect coming from a company with such diverse output.
In addition to storage and spools of filament, the company is an innovator in fast-growing LED and OLED lighting, developing products that offer low power consumption, long life and a better lighting experience. It is also an emerging supplier of water filtration systems; its Cleansui brand is apparently Japan’s favorite water filter.