By Nancy Owano / CIO Today. Updated August 07, 2013.
3D printing manufacturer 3D Systems has acquired the cloud-based collaboration software portal, TeamPlatform. The Tuesday announcement marks the company's third acquisition this year.
This newest buy is a standout that will strengthen 3D Systems' product features. Namely, Sunnyvale, California-based TeamPlatform has become a real win for architecture, engineering, and construction customers engaged in computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D projects.
Rock Hill, South Carolina-based 3D Systems has become a major go-to place for 3D-related hardware and software services. The company manufactures 3D printers for both companies as well as independent designers and hobbyist consumers. It also provides printing materials and software services, and CAD modeling, reverse engineering and inspection software tools.
The new buy means customers can also gain from a cloud-based platform that design, manufacturing, and engineering teams can use for sharing fields and collaborating on CAD/3D printing projects.
Intent on Integration
Customer testimonials indicate that this is an especially powerful platform. TeamPlatform users have included teams taking part in high-profile construction projects to fix motorways to preparing for major sports events -- whether the project is small or large, masses of data can be shared and used concurrently.
What exactly will 3D Systems do with TeamPlatform? The company has immediate plans to integrate the platform into its Geomagic Solutions, for 3D modeling, and Cubify.com, the social platform designed for artists, developers, and creatives.
That means the TeamPlatform acquisition will be leveraged for both the professional and consumer segments of the company's customer base.
Making the Future Work
To say 3D printing in general is a growth market would be an understatement. 3D printing technology has actually been around for more than 20 years. Known as "additive manufacturing," it's used in industrial and commercial settings. The manufacturing process is governed by successive layers of resin repeatedly deposited, based on a digital 3D model.
Today, independent designers and creatives are using 3D printing right along with big companies; professional and consumer segments see the advantages of 3D printing for prototypes and product parts in innovating products. Daily headlines regularly show feats created by 3D printing methods, from 3D printed pizza to 3D printed cars.
Enthusiasts see 3D printing as manufacturing's future. More conservative observers at least recognize 3D printing as a promising way to complement, rather than replace, traditional methods of making something.
As for 3D Systems, market watchers are raising the question about what this acquisition might mean not only for the company but for competition.
Is 3D Systems about to challenge Autodesk's turf? The guess is that, with Tuesday's announcement, competition just got hotter with Autodesk, a leading company in CAD software.
In the past, TeamPlatform and the Autodesk 360 cloud-based CAD suite have competed as collaboration tools of choice for project teams.
"TeamPlatform's powerful collaboration tools connect and expand our growing 3D content-to-print portfolio, multiplexing global productivity and real-time collaboration for our customers," said Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems.
VisPower Technology, formed in 2010, developed TeamPlatform. The company's mission was to help design, engineering and manufacturing companies easily manage small or large projects with huge piles of data concurrently.