Stratasys and Xometry announced an unusual agreement to collaborate on 3D print services.
Well, unusual for Stratasys, that is.
Stratasys is the well-known manufacturer of various types of professional and industrial 3D printers, and are one of the original inventors of the technology. Their invention of the FDM process (also known as FFF) was one of the triggers for the entire industry.
While Stratasys has been selling equipment for decades to customers and service bureaus, they’ve also been providing 3D print services directly to clients. Through Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, the company has been using their own (and other) equipment to provide 3D print services on demand.
This is a key strategy for the company, as such a service allows potential clients to “try before they buy”, as well as providing additional placements for equipment manufactured by the company.
Xometry is quite different, but also provides 3D print (and other) manufacturing services. Rather than operating the equipment themselves as Stratasys Direct does, Xometry instead is a manufacturing network. They provide a unified interface to buyers and behind the scenes route manufacturing requests to a participant in their network.
The participants are a collection of certified manufacturers using the appropriate equipment. For the participants, it’s a fabulous way to attract more business and keep their equipment busy, as Xometry provides a significant amount of marketing they can piggyback alongside.
Now there’s a connection between these two different parties. Stratasys explains:
“Stratasys Direct Manufacturing will be providing several new high-performance nylon material options to customers of Xometry’s global custom manufacturing marketplace, the two companies announced. Xometry’s customer base of startups to Fortune 100 companies is now able to tap Stratasys Direct’s deep expertise and substantial manufacturing capacity in SLS 3D printing. The new options are available on Xometry.com immediately.”
The materials involved include:
- Nylon 11 EX: A tough, white, impact-resistant nylon popular in complex ductwork, thin-walled components, and snap-fit designs.
- Nylon 11 HST: A nylon material with mineral fiber for temperature resistance and stiffness, popular for structural components, enclosures, and load-bearing applications at elevated temperatures.
- Nylon 12 AF: An aluminum-filled composite nylon providing strong, stiff parts with a metallic appearance, applicable for functional components, jigs and fixtures, and metallic prototypes.
- Nylon 12 CF: A carbon fiber-filled nylon material that is resistant to high temperatures and wear, with high strength and stiffness, applicable for underhood components in vehicles and wind tunnel display models.
This arrangement puts Stratasys Direct, at least for these materials, under the growing Xometry umbrella. That’s quite a change for a company that for decades has operated as a standalone operation.
But in a way it is quite in line with their increasing non-exclusivity with Stratasys. At one time they would have had only Stratasys gear onsite, but these days they offer not only 3D printing, but also these services:
- 3D Printing
- CNC Machining
- Urethane Casting
- Injection Molding
- Design Services
You might be surprised to learn that Stratasys Direct offers not only Stratasys 3D printing options, but also DMLS, MJF and SLS options. Their breadth is now far beyond the Stratasys universe.
With that strategy, it’s not so surprising that they have teamed up with Xometry to provide access to materials probably not otherwise available on Xometry’s network.
I’m wondering whether this relationship could increase if this initial foray proves successful. Perhaps more of Stratasys Direct’s capabilities could be offered within Xometry’s marketing and order envelope?
Hm, and they even use the same color scheme.