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AMS Spring 2023

UltiMaker: New Desktop 3D Printing Brand Emerges from MakerBot Merger

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The desktop 3D printing space was shaken by the May 2022 announcement that Stratasys was merging its MakerBot division with Dutch manufacturer Ultimaker. Now, the deal is complete, with some preliminary details that many wondered about at the time being released. The first such bit of information is the name of the new brand: UltiMaker.

Only a surprise in terms of stylization, UltiMaker will continue to do what it did under MakerBot and Ultimaker separately before it. That is, it will provide accessible 3D printing software, hardware, and materials. So far, this will mean offering virtually the same products as before, including MakerBot METHOD, SKETCH, and Replicator 3D printers, and MakerBot CloudPrint, the Ultimaker 2+ Connect, S3, S5, and S5 Pro Bundle. UltiMaker further notes that “the open communities, Ultimaker Cura and MakerBot Thingiverse will continue to be managed by the new company.”

While minor, there are new developments to be noted by these details. In particular, we can see that only Cura and Thingiverse are considered “open,” putting the final mail in the coffin for Ultimaker’s open source 3D printer philosophy. While MakerBot gave up its RepRap roots with its Stratasys acquisition, its Dutch competitor clung to them for sometime after. So far, all of the products will continue to be offered, which suggests some redundancy not dissimilar from the redundancy created at Desktop Metal when it bought ExOne. Surely, we’ll see some products whittled away and others grown, as the company evolves. We can also note that the new brand is essentially “Ultimaker” with a capital “m” in its center, suggesting that it may move away from the MakerBot brand, larger it tarnished by its stagnation under Stratasys.

However, Stratasys, along with NPM Capital and previous Ultimaker investors continue to own the new entity, with Stratasys and NPM putting in new funding. Meanwhile, Ultimaker CEO Jürgen von Hollen will leave once integration has been completed, allowing MakerBot CEO Nadav Goshen to run it as chief executive.

Nadav Goshen and Juergen von Hollen shake hands on the closing of the merger. Image courtesy of UltiMaker.

“As we begin the next chapter together as UltiMaker, we will continue to focus on developing 3D printing innovations to advance the availability of accessible and easy-to-use 3D printing solutions,” said Nadav Goshen, CEO of UltiMaker. “By combining our teams and technical expertise, we can work towards developing and delivering a comprehensive portfolio of products to support professional, educational, and light-industrial applications.”

“With the completion of the merger behind us, we can now focus on integrating the two businesses further and begin creating significant value for customers with leading 3D printing solutions,” said Jürgen von Hollen. “During the next few months, I look forward to helping the teams get started and take maximum advantage of the newly afforded opportunities.”

It is really a Stratasys re-branding that quickly broadens its customer base to include such clients as Volkswagen. The Dutch company seemingly captured the market share from MakerBot for the desktop space, which it has now regained. Now that they don’t have to compete with one another, they can figure out how best to take on the emboldened and open source Prusa Labs, BCN3D, and the numerous low-cost Chinese manufacturers. As it does so, UltiMaker plans to develop new products, expand research and development, and have a stronger presence in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific via market expansions.

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