UltiMaker announced a rebranding of MakerBot.
From someone who’s written about these two companies for over a decade, that’s a very strange sentence to compose. However, it’s the reality these days since the two companies agreed to merge some months ago.
The new UltiMaker had a bit of a branding problem: at the time of the merger, both were very well-known brands in the 3D printing space. However, a company must identify a prime brand otherwise customers could be confused.
They chose to go with “UltiMaker” as the main brand, capitalizing the “M” as a nod to MakerBot.
However, they didn’t extinguish the MakerBot brand, and this week they reinforced it.
Going forward, “MakerBot” will be the brand they present to the education market, a domain where MakerBot had been quite successful after its exit from the DIY space.
Today if you visit the MakerBot webpage you will see something quite different from previous versions: it’s all about education. In fact, the page prominently states:
“The only 3D printing ecosystem dedicated to education”
And they’re likely correct.
UltiMaker has consolidated all their educational offerings in this one site, branded as “MakerBot”. This includes not only their Sketch series of desktop 3D printers for classrooms, but also their comprehensive educational programs. The ecosystem also includes CloudPrint, their cloud-based printing solution that makes like a lot easier when running a 3D printer for a room full of students.
There is a link to “advanced 3D printers”, but that merely shows you the Method and S-series devices that go under the UltiMaker brand. Evidently UltiMaker recognizes that some educational institutions might want that style of equipment for advanced courses.
On the other hand, if you go to the main UltiMaker site you won’t see “education” as an application. Instead they’re listing automotive, defense, manufacturing and product development.
MakerBot’s advanced 3D printer, the Method series, appears as an UltiMaker device only: there is no longer a “MakerBot Method X”, it’s an “UltiMaker Method X”.
This effectively splits the two companies in a very clear manner, and should be easier for the public to navigate between the company’s offerings.
I recall the original MakerBot website from 15 years ago, and back then I couldn’t have imagined where it’s ended up today.