Materialize (Nasdaq: MTLS) aims to consolidate its software leadership with its new CO-AM platform, an open software tool that integrates offerings from various cloud-based software vendors. The platform allows this variety of software packages to communicate with each other, allowing them to be used by large companies to industrialize additive manufacturing.
“This is an important step in our history. CO‑AM provides new opportunities for AM users to innovate at unprecedented levels with their favorite software solutions. This open platform will allow the AM community to co-develop solutions that create competitive advantages for individual businesses and empower entire industries. At the same time, this business model generates new revenue streams for hardware and software partners,” said Bart Van der Schueren, CTO of Materialize.
CO-AM has a data lake that centralizes all information from production assets. This information can be used by customers to improve their manufacturing workflows, further enhanced through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company hopes to integrate into CO-AM scheduling, quality assurance and printing software, both from its own software division and programs from other developers. Materialize has already put its build processors alongside 25 other apps in CO-AM, including AM’s tools Flow and Castor.
“The next stage of change in the AM industry is automation. There are many digital dots to connect to create a complete automation value chain. Partnering with other solution providers in this chain is a prerequisite for the growth and scalability of additive manufacturing production. AM-Flow is very pleased to be one of the first partners of the Materialize CO‑AM platform,” said Stefan Rink, CEO of ‘AM-Flow.
“CASTOR partners with Materialize to capture and deliver the full potential of AM to manufacturers. By integrating our solutions on a unified CO-AM platform, we can offer a unique combination of engineering and automation intelligence, identify suitable candidates for additive manufacturing among thousands of parts and go all the way to the product within a single solution, seamlessly,” said Omer Blaier, CEO of CASTOR.
- On the one hand, it will be a standard that will allow disparate 3D printing software, sensors and machines to talk to each other. So that’s good news.
- On the other hand, by launching this, Materialize essentially solidifies its competition on Aspic, while keeping control of the market and its development. This may be good news for Materialize, but maybe not for everyone.
For Materialize, this is great because the company is primarily active with desktop 3D printing software. Now it can harness the collective innovation of its cloud-based competitors. At the same time, it can bring together value from disparate vendors in space by centralizing their communication and information sharing with customers. This will certainly help companies better monitor and analyze their production assets and will likely help them better manage production as a whole.
Materialize provides partners with an SDK, APIs and a staging environment. If this strategy works well, balances effort and rewards customers, it will be a very exciting development. But will software vendors trust Materialize enough to develop and direct their efforts sufficiently towards this platform? Will the business be able to dangle enough revenue before their eyes to get them excited?
Images courtesy of Materialise.
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