After announcing an option to purchase 3D printing software company Link3D earlier in the year, Materialize (Nasdaq: MTLS) has agreed to exercise that option and just in time for the next year 2021. The company will buy 100% of Link3D’s stakes for $ 33.5 million. .
“In recent years, we have carefully developed our platform strategy,” says Stefaan Motte, vice president and general manager of Materialize Software. “By joining forces with Link3D, we can accelerate the realization of this strategy, which will allow our customers to define and execute the most optimal, efficient and sustainable production process. Not only for the production of unique pieces, but especially for the scaling up of production in complex and distributed ecosystems.
With over 25 years of experience, Materialize is an established leader in the 3D printing industry. Specifically, she runs a leading industrial additive manufacturing services office and is a key software developer. Its Magics Build processor is the backbone of many 3D printers, while other tools in the Magics suite are essential for file preparation and medical applications. During this time, she has steadily increased her expertise in 3D printing for a number of verticals including aerospace and consumer products.
“Our mission has always been to help companies advance additive manufacturing and achieve their ROI goals,” says Vishal Singh, CTO and co-founder of Link3D. “This is a milestone day for the AM industry. The combination of two innovation leaders committed to relentlessly pursuing the promise of digital manufacturing.
With the purchase of Link3D, the company adds a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to its product portfolio. MES is necessary for the optimization of manufacturing operations, making it possible to monitor and manage all the elements of a fleet of 3D printers. This includes waste generated, errors, etc. Link3D’s additive MES solution will be integrated into a consistent cloud-based software platform, so that manufacturers can improve their operations with greater efficiency, repeatability, automation and continuous control over time.
As editor-in-chief Joris Peels noted, Link3D’s software as a service acts as “a gateway drug to other Materialize products. At the same time, it helps Materialize to move more towards the cloud and the installed base of Link3D can be cross-sold with Materialize software. Of course, the Materialize ecosystem as a whole becomes even more valuable. I think it’s a good move from Materialize to add Link3D to their offering right now. MES generally helps to increase and act as a catalyst for faster adoption of 3D printing, so in this case it will also help the growth of Materialize. “
In a 3DPrint.com PRO article, Joris questioned the future of Materialize, a company close to his heart as a former employee. Never without a critical eye, Joris thought it was possible that the company was weighed down by its service business, with software being the real gem of the business.
Whether or not his suggestions shape the future of the business, it would be hard to see Materialize shed its service side. After all, it is the management and development of a 3D printing operation that allows the company to move its software division forward. Without a fleet of diverse industrial 3D printers, the company is able to understand what is needed to improve their software and may not even have understood the need for a solution like Link3D’s.
In this author’s opinion, the purchase signals more advanced 3D printing software. As technology evolves, these types of measures will ensure that additive manufacturing is more easily integrated into existing production operations. It could even enable the lightless manufacturing that companies have dreamed of for nearly a century.