3D Systems Inc. yesterday announced that it has agreed to acquire Oqton, the creator of the Manufacturing Operating System, for $180 million. The MOS platform is designed for flexible production environments that increasingly use a range of advanced manufacturing and automation technologies, including additive manufacturing.
“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,” stated Dr. Ben Schrauwen, co-founder and CEO of Oqton.
“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, biotech and industrial market verticals,” he said.
Oqton is a global software-as-a-service (SaaS) company founded in 2017 by experts in AI and manufacturing. The Ghent, Belgium-based company has more than 90 employees—two-thirds of whom are dedicated to research and development—and offices in the U.S., China, and Denmark. Oqton said its MOS platform can deliver increased productivity and provide scalable, sustainable, and efficient manufacturing for any size of company.
Oqton MOS to facilitate workflows
Spending in smart manufacturing is an estimated $1.5 billion today, with an expected expansion to $6 billion by 2025, said 3D Systems.
Oqton claimed that its MOS uses the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), AI, and machine learning to help customers automate their digital manufacturing workflows, scale their operations, and enhance their competitive positions. “Our agnostic, cloud-based Manufacturing Operating System automates the end-to-end workflow across and beyond the production floor,” it said.
Along with an agile platform, these tools can enable rapid adoption of challenging workflows in industrial applications, said 3D Systems and Oqton.
“Customers across our industrial and healthcare segments are accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing [AM] into production environments,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO of 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,” he added. “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,” explained Graves. “This allows customers to use their choice of manufacturing and automation equipment on the shop floor to meet their unique factory needs.”
“Oqton’s cloud-based MOS solution, with its embedded AI and machine learning capabilities, then optimizes and automates these manufacturing elements in a manner that is not available today,” he said. “This solution lowers the barrier to adopt AM in a transformative way—through the integration of the solution and the optimization of the production workflow.”
The purchase consideration for this transaction totaled $180 million, including cash and 3D Systems’ stock. With the addition of Oqton, 3D Systems said it expects the run rate revenue from software to exceed $100 million by the end of 2025. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 following required regulatory approvals.
Oqton said its MOS can optimize customers’ use of 3D printing and other technologies, including robotic welding, machining, finishing, and inspection operations, in full production environments. The company added that its system can benefit vertical sectors including dentistry, aerospace, and automotive.
To fill this need most effectively, Oqton said it will operate as an independent organization and solution platform within 3D Systems, with data confidentiality and security protocols assured through third-party verification.
3D Systems expands offerings
3D Systems also announced that it will expand availability of its most advanced software—3DXpert, 3D Sprint, the Geomagic portfolio, and Additive Works Amphyon—as optional add-ons to the Oqton MOS platform.
With more than 30 years of experience, 3D Systems said it offers unique hardware, software, materials, and services. In addition, the company said its application engineers can collaborate with customers for application-specific solutions to transform how they deliver products and services. It serves markets including medical, defense, automotive, and durable goods.
3D Systems said its continued investments will “be instrumental in advancing the use of AM across all markets, to the benefit of all stakeholders in this rapidly evolving industry.”
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