36At the end of April, Microsoft announced a major move within the 3D printing space, the 3MF Consortium, in an effort to push the newly revised 3D printing file format forward. While they got off to a tremendous start, partnering with big name players such as Autodesk, HP, Shapeways, Dassault Systems, netfabb and SLM Solutions, many of the more recognizable established players within the industry had not signed on at launch.

The 3MF file format, which offered significant advantages to some of the other popular formats such as STL and OBJ, was being fully backed by the first 7 consortium members. Some advantages of this new format included the ability to store all the information of a particular model within a single archive, extensibility, support for transforms and object references, and more

Today, the 3MF Consortium has announced four new members, all of which could be defined as market leaders within the industry. They are:33

  • 3D Systems
  • Stratasys
  • Materialise
  • Siemens PLM Software

“The addition of 3D Systems, Materialise, Siemens PLM Software and Stratasys to our membership ranks further demonstrates the significant industry momentum behind the adoption of 3MF,” said Adrian Lannin, 3MF Consortium executive director. “By participating in the 3MF Consortium, our new members will ensure that their customers get all the advanced capabilities and productivity benefits of the 3MF specification. We welcome them and look forward to their contributions.”

One of the biggest questions we had, along with many others within the industry, back in April, upon the consortium’s launch was “Where does 3D Systems and Stratasys fit into all of this, and will they adopt this new format being 35promoted by some of the newcomers within the industry?”

Speaking with executives from both companies over the last few months, it has been very difficult to gauge either Stratasys’ or 3D Systems’ interest in this new consortium, however the importance of a unified file system could not be overstated enough.

Now with these four major players on board, there is little doubt that the 3MF file format will be the dominant format within the 3D printing space in the years ahead. Old players within any industry must adapt in order to stay relevant to the times, and that’s just what these companies have done for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

Let’s hear your thoughts on the latest members of the 3MF Consoritum and what it may mean for the future of the industry as a whole.  Discuss in the 3MF forum thread on 3DPB.com

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