Whoa buddy, 3D Systems continues their 3D print related rampage through the additive manufacturing industry gobbling up companies to compliment their forward looking plans of content-to-print domination. It seems no company is safe from having MILLIONS of dollars thrown at them, if they’ve got the “strategic fit’ 3D Systems CEO, Abe Reichental, is looking for. With ZCorp it’s multi-color 3D printers, but don’t forget, they have those slick hand-held 3D Scanners as well. What’s it all mean?
3D Systems adds ZCorp to the roster
“Z Corporation, the leader in multi-color inkjet 3D printing, today announced that it will be acquired by 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD), becoming the first company capable of delivering an integrated platform of mixed 3D printing technologies, 3D content, and 3D design services. The news is part of a wider announcement today in which the Contex Group, a subsidiary of Ratos AB, announced that it had signed an agreement to sell its subsidiaries, Z Corporation and VIDAR Systems, to 3D Systems Corporation for USD 137m in cash. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of 2011 or early 2012.”
My, my, my. Well, what does this mean?
To date, the 3D System acquisitions have included a mix of print service, software companies and hardware companies:
Print services, software, and hardware with most being software and services. This acquisition of ZCorp will elevate 3D Systems to a more level playing field with companies like Stratasys/HP, not just because 3D Systems is adding more printers and scanners, but because this would effectively double their reseller channel. The acquisition of Vidar also compliments 3D Systems work in the medical field.
While adding 3D Printers is great, 3D Systems has a ways to go before getting to the pinnacle of a complete content-to-print pipeline. There is still the need for the ability to work with scanned surface data after import, creating usable data to print. There’s also the need for their printers to use thermoplastic materials that would be used in aerospace and automotive industries. Besides that, 3D Systems and ZCorp now have deeper resources and I wouldn’t mind at all seeing a desktop Z Printer on the shelves and the 3D Printer store. You?