Additive manufacturing (AM) pioneer, Materialise NV (Nasdaq: MTLS) announced that the company has expanded its cloud-based, CO-AM platform, which was released earlier this year. In addition to heightened integration between the new platform and Magics 26 — the latest version of the company’s signature STL editor software for AM — Materialise has added seven new corporate partners to the CO-AM network.
The number of CO-AM partners now stands at more than 10, with each company adding new benefits to, and broadening the range of, the software’s design and workflow capabilities. To cite one example, SLM Solutions’ addition to the CO-AM network facilitates cloud-based printer connectivity for users of the company’s machines. To cite others, AMT, DyeMansion, and PostProcess have all added automation and tracking solutions for the post-processing phase.
In a press release announcing the CO-AM platform’s expansion, the senior director of CO-AM, Vishal Singh, commented, “For our partners, connecting their applications to the CO-AM platform provides them with opportunities to reach new customers more efficiently. Our customers benefit from a unified user experience throughout Materialise and partner solutions.”
Materialise’s CTO, Bart van der Schueren, explained, “With these new partnerships, the CO-AM community continues to grow, creating the first end-to-end software platform that offers an open ecosystem for the [AM] industry. Collaboration is key to realize the potential of [AM] and to give our customers seamless access to a full range of software tools to plan, manage and optimize every step of their 3D printing process.”
Moreover, the increased integration between Magics 26 and CO-AM takes the form of enhanced workflow automation, which the product line manager for Magics 3D Print suite, Egwin Bovyn, says “creates a digital thread” for every aspect of the build process from start to finish. The AM sector’s focus on software platforms in the last couple of years has been driven primarily by the need to achieve specifically this objective, of automating workflow for the user through digitization of each step in the product’s life-cycle.
The AM sector’s future trajectory seems to be coming into clearer focus by the day, and the technology’s relationship to global events sheds light on why what CO-AM accomplishes is so important, and why there are certain to be more and more competitors who will attempt to launch rival products. In 2022, the main attraction of AM to companies in all other sectors is that it will allow them to decentralize backup versions of their existing operations, for any situations where supply chain disruptions will inevitably occur.
Given that, the technology’s scale-up only makes sense as long as there is a commensurate scale-up on the cloud computing side, which has obviously already been happening, but which will only become even more apparent in 2023 and beyond. So the competition is likely to proliferate as I already said, but at the same time this is a case where being early to market should prove to be especially important.
Images courtesy of Materialise