3D Systems has announced it is set to acquire Oqton, the software company behind a cloud-based Manufacturing Operating System (MOS) platform that has been turning heads for the last couple of years.
Featured in the 2020 D3D 30, Oqton allows users to automatically capture expert knowledge and eliminate repetitive tasks in the additive manufacturing workflow, while also accessing technologies remotely and across multiple sites, and optimise production planning to improve utilisation and quality.
Oqton’s AI-driven platform will operate as an independent organisation and solution platform within 3D Systems, with data confidentiality and security protocols assured through third-party verification.
For 3D Systems, the move signals its focus on optimising its business for digital manufacturing systems, expanding its software platform, which already includes 3DXpert, 3D Sprint, its Geomagic portfolio, and Additive Works’ Amphyon.
“Customers across our industrial and healthcare segments are accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing into production environments,” said 3D Systems CEO Dr. Jeffrey Graves.
“They have increasingly identified the need for a manufacturing software platform that can easily and intelligently incorporate not only the printers themselves but all digital production systems and key enterprise software to optimise the entire workflow, from raw material to finished and inspected components.
“The system must be flexible enough to accommodate not only today’s manufacturing technologies but also be easily adaptable to future platform changes. The Oqton MOS fills this market need by seamlessly leveraging enterprise information and data in the customer’s current ERP, MES, PLM, and CRM systems, as well as the full range of shop floor manufacturing operations and software. The use of APIs to create ease of linkage between these systems is a distinctive attribute of the Oqton MOS.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Dr. Ben Schrauwen, CEO and co-founder of Oqton, said, “We are excited about joining with 3D Systems and look forward to leveraging their knowledge, resources, and ability to continue to innovate and deliver solutions that help companies accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing in production environments.
“At the same time, we bring our deep expertise in artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, and machine learning, which will help our customers and partners to scale and connect different manufacturing processes in a wide range of healthcare, bio-tech and industrial market verticals.”
It is yet to be understood how Oqton’s existing relationships with 3D printing vendors such as EOS, Sisma, Trumpf, Prodways and Sandvik will be affected, although the latter is likely to benefit financially given Sandvik’s Series-A investment into Oqton in January this year as part of a $40 million fund.
The acquisition price of Oqton is reported as being valued at $180 million in cash and 3D Systems stock.