Software is moving into the driving seat as the competition heats up. More startups and market entry by large companies is broadly predicted. Still, as a user, I have to deal with a fragmented tool chain. I’d love to see a more interconnected suite of solutions that work together well. I’d love for industrial and desktop both to be much simpler. I made a little chart the other day of all of the steps to get from idea to part and it was too nuts to even present here.
It’s been a number of years since people started to popularize the idea of “right-click print” in additive manufacturing (AM), so far without resounding success. Will 2022 be the year that we make good on our collective promises? I believe that we’ll make some steps, but in enterprises and universities, better tools are needed to manage print farms, while truly enterprise-ready AM collaboration and management software will have to become more prevalent, as well. Broadly, I think we can all agree that this will be a key year for software in 3D printing.
Bas De Jong, was one of the people sent in to clean house and make something coherent of Ultimaker and now is CCO at the 3D printing software firm 3YOURMIND. He shared his thoughts for the coming year.
“Companies in the AM space have to work together to develop the market. The growth is not as high as previously anticipated. Customers need help to find more applications and realize a sound business case for AM. Software plays an important role to automate this process. 3YOURMIND works with partners, like printer manufacturers, service bureaus and value-added resellers, to help customers find more AM applications and accelerate growth. Once there are plenty of parts to print, the next step for customers is to think about how to optimize their supply chain processes.”
I think that the wake up call is much needed, as is collaboration. We often see companies willing to try everything alone, but, in reality, you need everyone’s expertise to make this work.