Oqton to become a 3D Systems company in $180 million deal

3D Systems has just announced its next move as part of its restructuration strategy: the acquisition of Oqton for a transaction which totalled $180 million, comprising cash and 3D Systems’ stock.

As you may know, since the beginning of the year, 3D Systems has been giving with one hand and has been taking away with another.  

Its portfolio of new AM businesses already includes bioprinting and Simulation Firms Allevi and Additive Works to its portfolio of companies. With Oqton on-board, 3D Systems expects the run rate revenue from software to exceed $100 million by the end of 2025.

What is Oqton?

You may have discovered a bit about Oqton in the recent agreement the company secured with EOS to drive production efficiency for AM across all its facilities or even in the software segment of the latest edition of 3D ADEPT Mag; a segment that discusses the software automation journey in AM.

The Belgian SaaS company was founded four years ago wto develop an agnostic cloud-based manufacturing operating system, which automates the end-to-end workflow across & beyond the production floor.

As seen with EOS, the cloud-based Manufacturing Operating System (MOS) platform is tailored for flexible production environments that increasingly utilize a range of advanced manufacturing and automation technologies, including additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, in their production workflows. It utilizes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning technologies along with an agile platform to enable operators to rapidly address the most challenging production workflows such as those faced in dentistry, healthcare, biotech, aerospace, and automotive.

A press communication explains that availability of the Oqton MOS addresses a critical industry need by optimizing customers’ use of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies, including robotic welding, machining, finishing, and inspection operations, in full production environments. To fill this need most effectively, Oqton will operate as an independent organization and solution platform within 3D Systems with data confidentiality and security protocols assured through third-party verification.

What does this acquisition mean for 3D Systems?

Customers across our industrial and healthcare segments are accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing into production environments,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO, 3D Systems. “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 optimize 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. This allows customers to use their choice of manufacturing and automation equipment on the shop floor to meet their unique factory needs.”

With the acquisition of Oqton and the commitment to continue its focus on transforming and optimizing digital manufacturing systems, 3D Systems will also expand availability to the entire additive manufacturing industry and customer base its most advanced software platforms – 3DXpert®, 3D Sprint®, its Geomagic® portfolio, and Additive Works’ Amphyon™ – as optional add-ons to the Oqton MOS platform. With 3D Systems’ continued investment in these market-leading additive manufacturing tools, the company is confident they can be instrumental in advancing the use of AM across all markets, to the benefit of all stakeholders in this rapidly evolving industry.

Commenting on this transaction, 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.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 following required regulatory approvals.

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