Materialise, an Additive Manufacturing solutions company headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has acquired an option to purchase Link3D Inc., an additive workflow and manufacturing execution systems (MES) company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
The acquisition will extend Materialise’s ability to help companies gain control of their manufacturing floor as they scale up their AM capability into volume production. In addition, the acquisition will allow Materialise to accelerate its roadmap to offer cloud-based access to its integrated software platform. It also is expected to broaden the company’s industrial customer base across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and offer Link3D customers a seamless connection to the Materialise Magics 3D Print Suite.
“By joining forces with Link3D, we expect to be even better positioned to provide our customers with a solution to plan, manage and optimise their AM operations,” stated Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise. “This agreement exploits the synergy between the two companies and will help us to remove some of the complexity associated with scaling 3D printing as part of a connected, industrial manufacturing process.”
Link3D offers additive MES workflow software to help companies scale their digital manufacturing operations across complex supply chains and IT environments. Its MES and workflow solutions help bolster the overall adoption of AM for series production in major manufacturing industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer, medical and energy.
Additive Manufacturing continues to transform the factory floor as companies increasingly turn to AM for large-scale production. However, as these companies scale their AM processes and integrate these operations with existing production infrastructures, they are confronted with increasingly diverse, complex and distributed manufacturing environments. Materialise and Link3D both offer MES solutions that help these organisations gain control over their manufacturing floor. The synergy between the two companies will allow Materialise to help customers scale their AM capability across complex supply chains with greater operational excellence.
“At Link3D, it has always been our mission to help companies unlock the full potential of AM into their existing supply chains,” commented Shane Fox, Link3D CEO.
Vishal Singh, Link3D’s co-founder and CTO, added, “By teaming up with Materialise, a global pioneer of the 3D printing industry, we expect to be able to offer our combined user base access to a robust and comprehensive manufacturing suite of solutions, enabling them to take Additive Manufacturing to the next level.”
According to Materialise, the potential acquisition is also expected to accelerate the company’s platform strategy to offer companies cloud-based access to its unified software platform. While some companies had already begun their digitisation journey before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, COVID-19 has accelerated this process and emphasised the benefits of pursuing digital transformation opportunities.
Materialise has outlined an ambitious roadmap to evolve its entire software suite to an SaaS model, offering its customers cloud-based access to a complete platform of software tools to manage and control the AM process more efficiently. This cloud-based software platform will provide customers across multiple industries, from aerospace and automotive to point-of-care Additive Manufacturing, seamless and efficient access to Materialise’s complete and integrated AM software suite. This platform will also allow customers to benefit from the latest software innovations and enable them to scale their operations based on their current needs.
“Materialise and Link3D share a commitment to support companies as they build cost-efficient and productive 3D printing factories,” added Stefaan Motte, VP and General Manager of Materialise Software. “We expect that joining forces with Link3D’s talented team will help us to advance our roadmap to offer customers more flexible and reliable access to a cloud-based, unified software platform.”
Materialise has recently announced several cloud-based software solutions, including Magics Storefont, a full e-commerce and CRM solution in one platform, and the Process Tuner, an online platform that helps speed up the process tuning that is required for mass-manufacturing AM parts.
Link3D provides a suite of mission-critical applications for customers in the aerospace, automotive, medical and other competitive and highly regulated industries. These customers are expected to benefit from seamless access to the Materialise Magics 3D Print Suite for AM part preparation, automation and production optimisation, but also broad AM machine connectivity and automated workflows.
Link3D will continue to be managed by its existing management team. Materialise expects to exercise the option before the end of 2021.