Ultimaker has just announced a radical new software strategy to better integrate their own FDM machines with Cura. Ultimaker Essentials will now be integrated into all of its 3D printers, allowing customers to easily manage printers, filaments, accessories and software, hoping to give users better productivity and flexibility.

Back in November, Ultimaker announced both Ultimaker Excellence and Ultimaker Professional, the latter having additional “pro level” features. The company’s approach with both platforms aims to simplify the manufacturing process as much as possible by facilitating the management of multiple workflows from the design process all the way to printing.

Ultimaker Essentials includes the enterprise version of the well-known Cura slicer, Digital Factory, which handles print management, and the Ultimaker MarketPlace where customers can download additional plugins. In addition, the package includes direct support service and an e-learning platform which also includes a training program just for IT administrators.

For those purchasing new Ultimaker printers, the Essentials pack will be included for free and for existing customers, a lifetime license can be purchased for 600 euros. Ultimaker isn’t the first to offer software that gives users a more hands off approach. Markforged has been doing this for years with their lines of printers, leaving the slicing and print settings up to both their own professional services and their proprietary slicer. While it may take away some of the control from engineers and operators, the approach has been noted to give users nearly perfect parts on the first go. No need for constant fine tuning and reprints.

The CEO of Ultimaker says: “Ultimaker is uniquely positioned as a leader in the professional 3D printing segment, offering both hardware and software solutions. This platform is a real evolution: it elevates our current capabilities and enables our partners and diverse ecosystem to deliver a seamless, innovative and future-proof customer experience. We believe that all businesses, whether small, medium or large, should have the ability to take advantage of the platform and ecosystem. This allows them to remain flexible and productive in a volatile world.”

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