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Aurora into business 3D-printing market

TAIPEI--The Aurora Group (震旦行), Taiwan's leading manufacturer of office furniture and automation equipment, on Tuesday unveiled a three-dimensional (3D) printer for business use.

Developed jointly with the state-run Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Aurora F1 3D printer will go on sale next month in 166 Aurora stores at a price of under NT$100,000 (US$3,380), according to the company.

Print quality and stability can be achieved without connecting the printer to a computer, using an SD card. The printer was built with the use of fused deposition modeling technology and a biodegradable plastic material called polylactic acid.

The target market comprises mainly consumer electronics manufacturers, professional designers and academic institutions in Taiwan, which amount to some 200,000 customers, said Alice Lin, executive director of the Aurora Group.

“We will bring our distribution advantage to bear on the new business, creating higher value for our customers,” Lin said at the product launch.

The F1 printer will be distributed later in overseas markets such as Japan and the United States, according to Tony Tsai, senior division manager of the company's 3D printing business department, but did not give a timeframe.

Aurora, in partnership with the ITRI, is also aiming to launch a cloud-based service for office applications, hopefully by the second half of 2014, Tsai said.

In September, Aurora inked an agreement with Stratasys Ltd. to become the sole distributor of the American firm's “Idea” line of 3D printers in China.

With the unveiling of the F1, dealers forecast that Aurora's 3D printer sales in Taiwan and China will account for 10 percent to 15 percent of the group's total revenues in three years.

Global shipments of 3D printers priced at less than US$100,000 will show 49-percent annual growth in 2013, reaching 56,507 units, market research company Gartner Inc. forecast in an October report.

Shipments will increase further by 75 percent in 2014 to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015, Gartner said.

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Aurora Group (震旦行), Taiwan's leading manufacturer of office furniture and automation equipment, on Tuesday unveiled its first three-dimensional (3D) printer for business use at a product launch. The Aurora F1 3D printer will go on sale next month in 166 Aurora stores at a price of under NT$100,000 (US$3,380).

(CNA)

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