It’s been a pretty big week over at Autodesk, which just a couple days ago released the hardware and firmware files online to fulfill more of their open source promises for their Ember SLS printer, in addition to releasing the latest update to their Fusion 360 software.
Continuing on their releases and expansions, today, September 24, Autodesk has signed a definitive acquisition agreement, expanding their software holdings through netfabb, as well as making a strategic investment in FIT Technology Group, netfabb’s now-former parent company. Financial terms were not disclosed for either the acquisition or the investment, though Autodesk does plan to use foreign capital in the deal.
“Autodesk shares FIT’s goal of delivering high quality industrial additive manufacturing,” noted Carl Fruth, CEO, FIT AG, parent company of the FIT Technology Group. “We’re looking forward to cooperating with Autodesk – our newest investor– and we are confident that netfabb will continue to thrive and grow as part of Autodesk.”
As the investment and acquisition showcase, Autodesk has great plans for netfabb. The netfabb community already consists of over 80,000 individuals around the globe, from designers to artists, from researchers to manufacturers, and this community will only continue to expand under Autodesk’s auspices. Autodesk intends to support netfabb software, in addition to selling and further developing it, and will integrate netfabb software into their own products. Fusion 360 and the Spark 3D printing platform will both include netfabb technology following the acquisition, which is expected to close in Autodesk’s fourth quarter of FY2016.
“Autodesk has always been impressed by FIT’s track record in creating powerful solutions to meet the challenges of industrial additive manufacturing and together we will accelerate a new future of making things. We look forward to welcoming the netfabb team to Autodesk and helping designers and manufacturers worldwide take 3D printing beyond prototyping and plastics, to reliably creating production-grade parts at scale,” said Samir Hanna, Autodesk vice president and general manager, Consumer & 3D Printing.
Already featuring a broad range of capabilities, Autodesk is continuing on the path toward broadening the range and reach of additive manufacturing, bringing the technology toward full-scale production capabilities in end-use products. Among Autodesk’s recent notable activities have been the creation of Autodesk Within Medical and Engineering software, teaming up with LLNL to work on next-gen helmet technology, and, of course, partnering with Microsoft to bring Spark to Windows 10.
For its part, just this past summer FIT AG invested substantially in a new additive manufacturing facility. Additionally, netfabb and Microsoft enhanced their partnership earlier this month to further the growth of cloud-based services, and released the latest version of their Professional software just two months back. Furthermore, both netfabb and Autodesk have been members in the 3MF Consortium formed earlier this year.
The coming together of 3D printing powerhouses Autodesk and netfabb will surely lead to enhanced capabilities for users in both communities. We’re looking forward to hearing more about this deal and, particularly, what will come of it.