It’s a busy M&A year and, now, an especially busy one for additive manufacturing (AM) manufacturing execution system (MES) software, as Bassetti buys 3DTrust. At the same time, Materialise bought Link3D. 3DTrust is an MES software package that came out of an Airbus incubator. With Airbus as a client, 3DTrust was able to learn how to support the making of accurate parts while tracking every production step in a complex supply chain. The aviation industry is rigorous about Q&A, QC, tracking, testing, and compliance. Aviation also has a complicated supply chain with many tiers and highly complex assemblies and parts. If you can work with Airbus to their standards, then anywhere else should be a cinch.
An MES is a piece of software that tracks and documents the entire path that a raw material will take to becoming a part and then leaving the factory. Using an MES allows you to control processes, master processes, save money and track defects or errors. You can pinpoint problems in your production process and take the reins over manufacturing, rather than letting the process guide your efforts. AM MES systems, therefore, are a key application for making 3D printing production-ready.
They are also a very easy way for a company to enter the 3D printing space, as we can see here. MES software is meant to integrate with ERP and all sorts of other things and is an island in an archipelago of software tools. So, for Bassetti in this case, it is a simple market entry. The company also has an existing partnership with Senvol and will tie the Senvol database to 3DTrust and its software. Once again proving that Senvol has a lot of value as connective tissue for 3D printing.
“3DTRUST has developed an innovative MES solution that is currently used by major aerospace companies such as Airbus, Safran, and Thales and that fully complements our existing Additive Manufacturing offer for R&D,” David Bassetti, CEO of the BASSETTI Group, noted.
Having Airbus as a customer and also having 3DTrust’s excellent powder management solution will give the firm a flying start in 3D printing. So, why is 3DTrust selling? We can only speculate so far, but the runway is super long for MES software. The market is super small in terms of the number of installations that need this right now, as well—not big enough to warrant keeping afloat a 20-person startup, in my opinion. In the long run, of course, with 10 million or so to go global and iron out the kinks, an MES for 3D printing is a beautiful product to have, since its comparatively low cost, no one in their right mind would want to get rid of one MES and replace it with another one, and it’s just this thing that gets budgeted and they pay for every year. It’s a rounding error on an Airbus balance sheet that they have to have.
The team must have determined that this exit was superior to a raise and a long wait. Bassettti, meanwhile, makes a line of TEEXMA products, which is an R&D materials management software package. This gets the French firm out of the lab and onto the factory floor. It seems like a wise decision to buy an MES package right now and prepare themselves for growth in 3D printing.
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