Ref: IMD-7-1479

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-1479

Order this case study

Materialise: Supporting the 3D printing revolution

By Professor Benoit F. LeleuxBenoit F. Leleux and Mazen Zein

April 2013, Leuven (Belgium). Sitting behind his desk at the Headquarters of Materialise, the company he founded and still led as CEO, Wilfried Vancraen reminisced about the exciting last few years.

It had taken 20 years to lead the company from pioneer in 3D printing technology to the ultimate industry accolade, the receipt in 2011 of the RTAM Industry Achievement Award for the extensive contributions the firm had made to additive manufacturing.

Revenues reached the $90 million mark in 2013, with 1,000+ employees. The company was broadly diversified, catering to different markets in both B2B and B2C sectors and was a clear market leader in applications such as software for additive manufacturing and biomedical engineering, as well as in biomedical 3D printing activities.

But the competitive landscape was evolving quickly. Many new service bureaus were opening up. Hype about 3D printing was growing in the media. The barriers to entry (technological and financial) were, but becoming steeper in machine and material manufacturing. Vertical integration was starting to appear with big 3D printing machine manufacturers starting to acquire service providers, software developers and material manufacturers. It was a bit early to judge the effectiveness and long-term effects of this emerging trend. Further consolidation was clearly in sight.

For Materialise, the options were numerous. It could become the consolidator, acquiring and merging into other players. But with its unique portfolio of competencies and activities, it could as easily become a seller in the process. It could also continue to grow independently. There was also the issue of whether it should seek further financing from the public in an IPO. Being an established prized player in the industry opened up many opportunities…

Learning Objective

  • Managing growth
  • Technology leadership
  • Service management
  • Consolidation
  • IPO
  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Venturing
Keywords3D Printing, Additive, Engineering, Hardware, Innovation, Manufacturing, Medical Technology, Software Development, Technology Management
SettingsGlobal, Belgium
Materialise
2013
TypeField Research
Copyright©2013
LanguageEnglish
Related materialTeaching notes, video
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-1479

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre Babson College

Babson Park Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way Boston, MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Case Center Japan

2nd Floor, Toranomon Jitsugyokaikan,
1-1-20 Toranomon, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0001 Japan
Tel +81 3 3503 6621
Fax +81 3 3501 0550
Email [email protected]

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information, please contact IMD's Information Center Copyrights Services.

Contact our Knowledge Center for additional information on IMD publications

Keep reading

Back to top