The 3MF Consortium announced a new member: GE Global Research. With this addition, it’s time to consider 3MF as the winning standard.
If you’re not familiar with GE Global Research, they are, as you might suspect, a subsidiary of GE, one of the largest companies in the world. This massive enterprise, with all its numerous ventures, focuses its internal research within one division: GE Global Research. These are the folks who perform research and development for the entire enterprise.
And if you’re not familiar with 3MF, it is a proposed new standard for defining 3D models, specifically addressing the needs of 3D printing activities. So far, a number of 3D print-related companies have joined this consortium, namely: Microsoft (who put up the initial cash to get it going), 3D Systems, Autodesk, Siemens, Stratasys, SLM Systems, Dassault, Materialise, Ultimaker, HP and even Shapeways.
But now this group adds GE to the mix. The big difference for us is that GE, unlike the other participants, is solely a user of 3D printing technology, rather than the existing consortium members, who are manufacturers and producers of 3D print technology or services.
GE has been quite active in using 3D print technology for some years now, as they’ve specifically been using metal 3D printing to develop parts for aerospace applications.
Standards aren’t worth much unless they are used, and the more they’re used, the more other people will use them. The addition of a standards user to this consortium will surely boost the usage in significant ways over time. Their requests for 3MF capability will drive providers to including 3MF technology in their products and services. It’s an equation, and now we have both sides.
At this point, it seems that any competing standard would have a very tough time challenging this collection of notable 3D industry participants. Expect 3MF to appear a lot more frequently in the software, hardware and services you’re using.