The Czech company Prusa Research is one of the leading manufacturers of 3D printers for home use. In a post and a video, company founder Josef Průša provides insights into the challenges of production in Europe.
According to Průša, the high demand for the new MK4 and XL models is both a blessing and a curse. The printers are selling faster than ever, but there is not enough production capacity to avoid supply bottlenecks. Prusa Research has increased the number of employees by over 150 in 2023 and rented new production facilities to keep up with demand. Nevertheless, it remains difficult to further increase availability.
According to Průša, one reason for this is the large number of printer variants – from kits to pre-assembled devices. The individual versions require very different manufacturing processes, which makes scaling difficult. However, Prusa categorically rules out kit variants, as these are a key selling point for many customers.
Further challenges arise from production in Europe. Many supplier parts have to be imported, which entails dependencies and risks. Prusa Research is therefore increasingly trying to manufacture components regionally or even in-house. However, the often higher costs and lower capacities of European suppliers also have an impact on product availability, according to Průša.
Despite growing competition from low-cost manufacturers from Asia, Josef Průša sees his European-oriented business model as forward-looking. Only by being close to suppliers and customers can Prusa Research continue to develop innovative and high-quality 3D printers and maintain its philosophy of upgradeability and reparability.