Stratasys has purchased the assets of thermoplastics producer and developers, Interfacial Solutions.

In a move aimed at expanding their services business and improving the Stratasys supply chain and product development processes, the 3D printing industry leaders made their move for the Wisconsin-based company. Interfacial is a provider of thermoplastics R&D and production services and has been a major production partner for Stratasys' FDM product for the last three years.

The Stratasys-Interfacial deal is expected to close some time in the second quarter of 2014.

"Interfacial Solutions provides significant expertise in plastics and filament. We believe its knowledgeable team – and experience – will accelerate Stratasys' materials development efforts for all of our FDM platforms," said David Reis, CEO of Stratasys.

Reis said his firm made the acquisition to strengthen Stratasys' materials R&D skills, vertically integrate his company in materials development and manufacturing, and to increase materials production space and capacity.

"Overall, we expect to accelerate new materials development, allowing us to introduce new products to the market faster," Reis said.

The announcement stipulates that Stratasys will acquire "certain assets" of Interfacial Solutions, but the full terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Interfacial has been an ongoing partner with Stratasys in developing the company's fused deposition modeling, or FDM, product lines.

"I'm excited that Interfacial Solutions will become a part of Stratasys," said Dr. Jeffrey Cernohous, Interfacial Solutions Founder, Chairman and CTO. "We've worked with Stratasys in the past and know that our materials and process expertise will be an excellent addition to their leading capabilities in additive manufacturing."

Interfacial Solutions is a research and development technology company operating in a 42,000 square foot facility near River Falls, Wisconsin. It employs a team of scientists responsible for more than 50 issued patents.

The move continues a trend towards vertical integration by the major 3D printing companies who are intent on buying materials developers and suppliers. Experts say such acquisitions have the additional benefit of denying competitors access to the companies in play.