3D Control Systems, the San Francisco-based AM software provider, has released a version of its cloud-based 3DPrinterOS’ slicing software that is compatible with Formlabs’ 3D printers.
In 2014, 3DPrinterOS was launched as an operating system designed for desktop 3D printers. Formlabs was formed in 2011 by students at MIT Media Lab, and launched in fall of 2012 with a $3 million Kickstarter campaign.
Formlabs now employs 800 people, has operations around the globe, and brought in $82.5 million in revenue in 2021. Last month, the Somerville, Massachusetts-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) opened a new 20,000 square foot Midwest headquarters in Milwaukee, which includes a print farm.
In addition to the strong demand for the software from 3DPrinterOS’ user base, the platform simply seems like a logical fit for Formlabs. 3DPrinterOS and Formlabs have both gained niches in their respective markets for streamlining all the processes involved in 3D printing as much as possible, across the largest number of customers. Both brands should benefit equally from the integration.
Moreover, given the location of Formlabs’ newest headquarters, the partnership should have implications for the scale-up of AM’s role in the US auto industry. The tiniest parts, those involving electronics, have probably had the greatest share of the responsibility for disrupting car manufacturing supply chains over the past couple of years. Thus, polymer will be just as important as metal to AM’s growing role in US auto production.
Finally, the collaboration will likely be a useful test-case for many of the objectives outlined in the recently-released National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing. The report is rightly just as focused on software as it is on hardware, especially regarding striking the right combination between data-sharing amongst shared networks and the maintenance of cybersecurity. In turn, the successful combination of 3DPrinterOS and Formlabs would likely attract substantial attention from government and military customers.
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