Is there a possibility of 3D Systems acquiring SmileDirectClub?


Is there a chance for 3D Systems to regain its position in the aligner business? Let’s go back a bit and recap the situation. 3D Systems has been a prominent player in the 3D print industry since the 1980s, when they invented the SLA process. Over the years, they have expanded their operations and developed various machines and processes. One significant portion of their business came from producing dental aligners, which are personalized and need to be individually made for each patient. Thanks to 3D printing, they were able to mass-produce these aligners, and Align, a major customer of 3D Systems, used their equipment and materials to manufacture their popular invisalign clear aligner systems.

However, Align recently announced its acquisition of Cubicure, a European startup specializing in producing 3D printer resins. Although no official statement has been made, it is suspected that Align might shift some of its business from 3D Systems to Cubicure. This possibility has caused concern among investors, leading to a significant drop in 3D Systems’ stock price in recent weeks. So, what can 3D Systems do in this situation?

While it is likely that 3D Systems is working with Align to clarify their relationship, there could also be other options to consider. One idea proposed by Tuan Tranpham, a 3D print enthusiast, on LinkedIn is for 3D Systems to acquire SmileDirectClub (SDC) after the company filed for bankruptcy. Tranpham suggested that since Align acquired Cubicure, 3D Systems could potentially acquire SDC. However, while this might seem like an interesting proposition, I believe it is unlikely to happen.

While it is technically feasible for SmileDirectClub to utilize 3D Systems’ equipment and materials, there needs to be a solid business case for such a move. SmileDirectClub’s previous failure was primarily due to the high cost of acquiring customers. Their business model, which involved customers directly ordering aligners, required extensive advertising and promotional expenses. It appears that SmileDirectClub could not sustain this level of expenditure.

Can 3D Systems do something differently? I’m unsure. Unlike Align, 3D Systems does not have an extensive network of dentists, which significantly contributes to Align’s success. To make SmileDirectClub work, 3D Systems would have to become deeply involved in the dental industry, which seems unlikely given their current operating space. My opinion is that SmileDirectClub is likely to fail, and 3D Systems will not attempt to acquire their business. This leaves 3D Systems in a similar predicament as before, unless it turns out that SmileDirectClub has been using their equipment and materials.

In conclusion, while there is some uncertainty surrounding Align’s potential shift away from 3D Systems, it is doubtful that 3D Systems will try to regain its position by acquiring SmileDirectClub. The future of 3D Systems in the aligner business remains uncertain, but it is essential for the company to explore alternative strategies to mitigate any potential negative impact.

Original source


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