Congratulations to ZCorp Management Team
It has recently been announced that 3D Systems have acquired ZCorporation for $150M cash.
If this is the case, the management team, lead by John Kawola should be congratulated.
Fripp Design and Research are experienced users of ZCorp. We have two ZCorp 510 machines, in house, and have bought and sold a number of ZCorp printers. We also own a number of ZCorp related domain names too. We also have a 3D Systems V Flash 3D Printer too.
The reason we congratulate the management team is this:
1. From our experience, many buyers of ZCorp machines are offloading them in favour of alternatives (particularly Objet). Although the newer cartridge based machines are simpler to use, the post processing is not popular with users.
2. The reseller channel to market is saturated with too many resellers chasing too little business (this is one of the reasons why we stopped reselling ZCorp) and is still, immature (i.e. it is easy to replicate)
3. Despite what ZCorp say, ZCorp is rapid visualisation, not rapid prototyping
4. It is our understanding that one of the key MIT Patents, underpinning their 3D Print methodology, is now in the public domain
Given the above, why would 3D Systems pay so much money?
Don’t get us wrong, we love ZCorp technology (we are developing new patent protected ways of rapid manufacturing with their printers), but we question why 3D Systems have paid so much for ZCorp.
We can only conclude that they have bought access to new, developing IP, which will allow the creation of full colour RAPID PROTOTYPING 3D Printers. If this is the case, then this is a technology the market will want to see.
Our worry is, though, that ZCorp have done a fantastic selling job (hence the congratulations to the management team) which 3D Systems might come to regret. The knock on affect is that it might starve them of cash, which might affect their own R&D activities; which could affect the market development of 3D Printing/Additive Manufacture.
We will watch, from the sidelines, with interest!