3D print filament manufacturer Keene Village Plastics announced it has acquired MakeShaper.
Keene Village Plastics is a long-term manufacturer in the 3D print space, having once being part of the 3D Systems universe, but now operating under the Keene brand. “KVP” is a well-known white labeler, in that their products are rebranded and sold by many others. Their primary market these days is industrial, as they produce a variety of engineering-grade materials.
MakeShaper is another smaller manufacturer of 3D printer filament based in North Carolina. They’ve been around for about four years and have primarily served the consumer and hobbyist crowd.
What is this acquisition all about? KVP explains:
“MakeShaper and KVP share common denominators in that all filaments are engineered, tested, and manufactured in the USA. KVP is excited to have the opportunity to continue to support MakeShaper customers with the same consistency the brand is known for.
KVP is known in the industry for its high-end engineering grade filaments. With the acquisition of MakeShaper, KVP can extend its reach to provide high quality filaments to the consumer and hobbyist market.”
There’s a couple of observations here.
First it’s quite interesting to see KVP reenter the consumer space, which was one they operated deeply in some years ago. However, since that time the consumer space has largely morphed into either prosumer or professional audiences, requiring far more than just PLA and ABS materials. Therefore, KVP’s appearance in this market is quite appropriate.
Secondly, I have a suspicion there are too many suppliers of filament in the world. It seems every plastics manufacturer wants to get in on the action, and has launched a 3D print product line. There are also countless small operations reselling filament produced by others, and I’ve even started to see filament for sale in hardware stores locally.
This is a scenario ripe for mergers and acquisitions, and it has been played out in other industries many, many times. Usually what happens is a few of the key players become aggressive and start acquiring others to build up economy of scale and assets, either technological, branding, or customer bases.
Could that be what KVP is doing here? I think we will have an interesting time watching this play out over the next few years.
But who will win?