In 2014, 3DPrinterOS was released as an operating system designed for desktop 3D printers. Formlabs was formed in 2011 by MIT Media Lab students and launched in the fall of 2012 with a $3 million Kickstarter campaign.
Formlabs today employs 800 people, operates globally, and has $82.5 million in revenue in 2021. Last month, the Somerville, Mass.-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) opened a new 20,000 square foot headquarters in the Midwest in Milwaukee, which includes a print farm.
Along with strong demand for the software from the 3DPrinterOS user base, the platform just seems like a logical choice for Formlabs. Both 3DPrinterOS and Formlabs have carved out niches in their respective markets to streamline all processes involved in 3D printing as much as possible, to as many customers as possible. Both brands should benefit equally from the integration.
Additionally, given the location of Formlabs’ new headquarters, the partnership is expected to have implications for AM’s growing role in the US automotive industry. The tiniest parts, those involving electronics, have probably had the biggest share of responsibility for disrupting automotive manufacturing supply chains over the past two years. Thus, the polymer will be just as important as the metal for the increasing role of additive manufacturing in American automotive production.
Finally, collaboration will likely be a useful test for many of the goals outlined in the recently released report. National Advanced Manufacturing Strategy. The report is rightly just as focused on the software as on hardware, especially when it comes to finding the right mix between sharing data between shared networks and maintaining cybersecurity. In turn, the successful combination of 3DPrinterOS and Formlabs would likely attract the attention of government and military customers.
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