With the acquisitions of Z Corp and Vidar, 3D Systems has acquired 23 companies over a period of a few years - and counting. Who's next? 3D Systems now owns not only additive manufacturing (AM) equipment makers with various technologies and materials producers, but it also owns a number of AM service bureaus - including one of the largest - Quickparts of Atlanta, GA.
While no one in the AM industry wanted to go on the record with their opinions about 3D Systems' impact on the industry with its continued forays, not many we spoke with were happy about it. In fact, several noted that a monopoly on equipment, materials and services can only hurt the industry.
Most of us remember the first onslaught of what was then called the Rapid Prototopying (RP) industry and the subsequent fallout after the big service bureaus got bigger, but never big enough that they couldn't fail. And fail they did. For awhile, things settled down and eventually the major players revised their business strategy. The service bureaus found a model that worked and became successful....