Ultimaker has announced a new platform strategy and new software offerings.
Today’s launches are filling in the blanks to outlines that Ultimaker has been establishing for months now. Late last year, the company announced that long-time CEO Jos Burger would be retiring and the new CEO, Jürgen von Hollen, would step into the role at the start of 2021. Following that announcement, I spoke with Gregory Elfering, President of Ultimaker Americas, for a look at Ultimaker’s 2020 and look ahead into 2021 plans.
We saw certain parallels here, as Elfering highlighted the importance of ecosystem thinking and the incoming von Hollen brought in notable experience in automation and bigger-picture thinking. Both executives pointed directly toward platform strategy. So it is perhaps not a surprise that the biggest announcement for the Ultimaker Transformation Summit is that Ultimaker is transforming into a platform business.
As with any business operating today, Ultimaker has been well aware of the changing needs of a dynamic marketplace — and a pandemic-stricken world. Flexibility, customization, and specific, scalable solutions are keys to maintaining a strong foothold. These are all also areas where additive manufacturing has had a notable advantage.
Ultimaker has been taking steps toward a larger ecosystem for some time. Starting with tried-and-true desktop 3D printers and well-received 3D printing software, the company has been building up both its resources and its reputation. The launch last summer of Ultimaker Essentials offered a single platform for the Ultimaker Ecosystem.
They’re going farther now, as the company explains:
“The 3D printing platform launched by Ultimaker enables the development, nurturing and orchestration of Ecosystem products and services including hardware add-ons, materials, software, and other services. To ensure the best customer experience Ultimaker will certify Ecosystem products and services that have been tested with the platform. Ultimaker will provide open interfaces, APIs and other tools for the development community and support these communities to drive further innovation and use cases. The platform focuses on the end-to-end workflows, from enabling engineers to collaborate on a design, to storing applications and printing on demand.”
Two new software plans encompassing five new elements also help specific users target exactly what they need to achieve.
The two new software plans are:
- Ultimaker Professional: helps professionalize 3D Printing innovation through collaboration and advanced software.
- Ultimaker Excellence: a complete and custom solution aimed at accelerating the business’ digital transformation.
Further, Ultimaker explains, these software plans include five new elements:
- Additional e-learning for all plans
- Businesses can increase the success of 3D printing with new e-learning modules.
- Digital Library
- A global application library, hosted in the cloud, allowing for easy collaboration and application development.
- Reporting & analytics
- Users gain insight into individual printers, print fleet, projects, and applications, and access and analyze data with PowerBI. It simplifies data-driven decision-making and building a business case to show the ROI.
- Seamless CAD and platform integration
- Users can directly open CAD files in Ultimaker Cura, skipping conversion to .STL. The Ultimaker Digital Factory also reduces any switching between software components.
- Expert support and full API access for Ultimaker Excellence
- Users can speed up digital transformation and experience full compatibility with established processes. They can also access expert support when needed.
There are some big statements within all of these announcements. For further insights into Ultimaker’s strategy, I went to the source and spoke with the new CEO.