In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Stratasys Chairman Scott Crump stated the company’s intent to further develop 3D printing with metals.
“Because there is so much opportunity we also will selectively grow though M&A,” Crump said. “We have an organic project to get Stratasys into additive metal. It’s rational to say that through M&A we want to expand with different technology on a dual path.”
In a previous post, we looked at 4 publicly traded companies involved in 3D printing with metals. Would any of these companies be an acquisition target for Stratasys? Renishaw has only recently invested in 3D metal printing technology and they are a diversified company. 3D Systems would involve a merger of two industry leaders. ExOne had a recent IPO and has a rich valuation. Arcam has a small market cap currently and a reasonable valuation..
However, there are still a number of private candidates that Stratasys could potentially acquire.
In an earlier post we discussed how Optomec has been working with Stratasys on a joint development project to merge 3D printing with printed electronics. Optomec recently announced a low cost offering in its line-up of metal 3D Printers named the LENS 450. In addition to the LENS 450, Optomec also offers offers the LENS MR-7 for research and development, and the LENS 850R production repair system. Materials supported include titanium, stainless steel, nickel, cobalt and other alloys.
EOS is a German company that first developed the very same direct metal laser sintering technology that Optomec uses today. The company offers printers that support plastics, sand, and metals with the EOSINT M 280 being the flagship metals printer. According to an article by Rapid Ready Technology, the company has about 1,100 installed systems worldwide, with revenue in 2011 of about $124 million.
“We have about 400 employees around the globe, with approximately 300 residing at our headquarters,” says Andy Snow, North America regional director for EOS. “Out of that 300, about a third of them are dedicated to research and development, and engineering. The remainder are spread out at technology centers around the world.” According to Snow, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) represents the majority of EOS’ systems sales.
SLM is a German company offering a series of 4 different 3D metal printing machines. The 10 metal materials supported include titanium, stainless steel, aluminium, and cobalt chromium. They recently announced the establishment of a subsidiary in the US with the company now having direct representation in 38 countries worldwide. The company uses a process called selective laser melting with which they are said to have entered into a commercial relationship with the inventors in the early 2000s.
Established in 2000, Concept Laser specializes only in machines for building in metals, working directly with materials such as Titanium, Aluminium, Inconel, Cobalt Chrome, Stainless Steel, and a range of DIN standard tool steels. In May 2013 it was announced that Concept Laser and EOS agreed to a cross-license that gives each party license rights to the current patent portfolio of the other party. Under the cross-license agreement, Concept Laser and EOS also agreed to withdraw all patent opposition cases that were pending between them. The technology used by Concept Laser referred to as LaserCUSING seems similar to that used by SLM and EOS.