Geo Week News

October 10, 2012

3D Systems buys Rapidform


$35 million deal continues build out of scan-to-print workflow

ROCK HILL, S.C. – In a continuation of aggressive acquisition, 3D Systems announced yesterday the purchase of Korean software maker Rapidform for $35 million. 3D Systems may be known as a manufacturer of 3D printers, but its portfolio now includes a diverse collection of companies making everything from laser scanners to photogrammetry and point cloud-processing software to online inventories of 3D objects, plus on-demand parts suppliers.

(For an overview of the company’s acquisition history, see this blog post.)

On a call with investors, 3D Systems CEO Abe Reichental called Rapidform’s ability to ingest point clouds into a parametric CAD environment “a very powerful thing … to combine CAD with 3D scan processing is very powerful. We also believe that some of the inspection capabilities that Rapidform has to offer are also very important as we push our ideation onto the production floor” at manufacturing facilities.

Reichental characterized the Rapidform buy as an “investment,” meaning he did not see the need or possibility for cost-cutting via company “synergies,” and he expects it to pay off, saying the buy adds an additional $15 million in revenue contribution for 2013. He said the addition of Rapidform’s sales team would provide additional sales opportunities for 3D Systems’ printers with as many as 100 new resellers, with a particular bump in Japan and South Korea, where 3D Systems doesn’t currently have much of a presence.

However, it’s the technology synergies Reichental seemed excited about. Rapidform’s “surface recognition capabilities could certainly enhance what we have with Hypr3D and create some really game-changing opportunities for customers,” he said. “We think this technology could go a long way toward enhancing printing through all of our products with what’s called automated file fixing and healing – they have some extraordinary capabilities there.”

A big driver for 3D printing, Reichental believes, is reducing the barrier to creating 3D printable files. Rapidform ought to make it easier for customers to go from both laser scanning and photogrammetry to print, he said, which serves both its industrial and consumer customer base.

SPAR 3D continues to report on this story.

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