3D Printing Industry Year in Review: July 2021
July has been an active month for investments in 3D printing and SPAC deals, with announcements from Fathom Digital Manufacturing, Fast Radius and Markforged. Desktop Metal and Essentium acquired companies, while 3D Systems and Renishaw grabbed the headlines for selling them. The world of 3D printing for construction has also come to life with several âworld firstsâ from companies such as MX3D, Twente Additive Manufacturing and COBOD.
The wave of SPAC mergers continues
On-demand manufacturing company Fathom digital manufacturing announced its intention to go public through a merger with Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Altimar Acquisition Corp. II. The deal will see Altimar partner with Fathom to form a $ 1.5 billion company backed by $ 80 million in funding. The company said it would use the new capital to increase its production capacity and accelerate inorganic growth.
Elsewhere, digital manufacturing service provider Rapid radius announced its intention to go public through a merger with SPAC ECP Environmental Growth Opportunities (ENNV). The joint venture was to be valued at around $ 995 million, with Fast Radius shareholders posting 100% of their equity. Any funding raised through the deal has been used to fund the company’s ongoing software development and facilities expansion strategy, with the hope of increasing its annual revenue to $ 635 million. dollars by 2025.
“We are delighted to partner with ENNV, as their team’s long history of success, their history of being at the forefront of new sustainable infrastructure transitions and their institutional reach will accelerate the next chapter of our growth.” said Lou Rassey, CEO of Quick Ray. âOur Board of Directors and management team remain committed to delivering our proven business model and creating value for all stakeholders. “
Finally, manufacturer of metal 3D printers Markforged started trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The combined companies, united under the âMarkforged Holding Corporationâ banner, were valued at $ 2.1 billion. Going public, Markforged raised $ 361 million in gross proceeds, which it has since used to fund the continued expansion of its product portfolio.
âAs a publicly traded company, we will continue to focus on executing our ambitious roadmap for our products and further accelerate innovation, broaden customer adoption and capitalize on strong secular trends in AM, âsaid Shai Terem, President and CEO of Markforged. âThis will allow us to expand our platform to even more manufacturing floors around the world for critical use cases. “
Acquisitions and sales in the additive manufacturing sector
July was also marked by several major acquisition news, with the 3D printer maker Office metal announcing the acquisition of the Belgian coating technology developer Aerosint. The latter’s selective powder deposition technology allows users to 3D print multiple materials simultaneously, unlocking powder efficiency, cost savings and throughput gains. Having now bought the company, Desktop Metal intends to gradually integrate this multi-material process into its own offer, while allowing the company to operate independently as a 100% subsidiary.
âThis transaction advances our strategy of having differentiated printing technologies that enable a growing set of large-scale AM ââ2.0 applications,â said Ric Fulop, Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. âToday people print parts, but in the future people will be looking to print complete products, which can be made of multiple materials. Multi-material printing is the next frontier in additive manufacturing.
In the same way, Essentium, the 3D printer maker behind the High-Speed ââExtrusion (HSE) 3D printing platform, has signed a letter of intent to acquire Collider, the developer of the hybrid additive manufacturing process ” Programmable tooling â.
Collider’s technology combines DLP 3D printing with injection molding, giving manufacturers a way to produce low-volume, high-strength parts. The deal will grant Essentium full access to Collider’s intellectual property portfolio, allowing the company to debut in the resin-based DLP 3D printing market.
We also saw a manufacturer of 3D printers 3d systems sell its Simbionix medical simulation software division in a $ 305 million deal. Simbionix was acquired by a virtual reality medical training company Surgical Sciences Sweden, where it now complements the company’s existing portfolio of clinical simulation programs. For 3D Systems, the move was a step towards the restructuring it began last year, whereby it divested many of its non-core businesses in order to establish a âsingular focusâ on 3D printing.
âOver the past few months, 3D Systems has divested a number of assets that are not critical to our industry-leading additive manufacturing solutions business,â said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, President and CEO of 3D Systems. âThe latest of these is our Simbionix company, under the leadership of Ran Bronstein, which has established a strong position in the market for medical simulation, training and robotic surgery. “
Finally, major shareholders in UK-based engineering firm Renishaw have abandoned an attempt to sell their shares after failing to find a suitable buyer. Since their combined 53% stake went up for sale in March 2021, company chairmen Sir David McMurtry and John Deer have been unable to find a bidder that meets their strict criteria, despite receiving multiple bids. The company has since remained under its current owners.
âAt the start of this process, we made it clear that with the Board of Directors, our focus was on finding the right new owner for our business,â said McMurtry and Deer. âWhile the formal sales process did not result in a new owner for Renishaw, we are confident it ensured a thorough and rigorous process that allowed us to assess a wide range of potential buyers. “
World firsts in construction 3D printing
Interestingly, July also seemed to bring a number of milestones in the construction 3D printing industry. In Malawi, Africa, what is considered the world’s first 3D printed school opened its doors to students. Printed in just 18 hours, the school was built using a concrete printer from the Danish construction company COBOD as part of a project with 14Trees, a joint venture between the specialist in construction materials LafargeHolcim and CDC Group, the UK’s public impact investor.
Elsewhere in Canada, the 3D printed “Fibonacci House” became the first additively manufactured house to be listed on the popular travel accommodation site. Airbnb. Built by a Dutch start-up Twente additive manufacturing, the compact yet luxuriously upholstered vacation home is now available for rent in scenic British Columbia’s hills. Inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, the structure features the mathematical golden ratio that is often found in nature.
In the Netherlands, Her Majesty Queen MÃ¡xima and developer of metal 3D printing technology MX3D unveiled the country’s first 3D printed stainless steel bridge in the heart of Amsterdam. The 12.2m long structure has now been placed on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, one of the city’s oldest red light district canals, and is ready for use by pedestrians and cyclists.
Tim Geurtjens, co-founder of MX3D, said: âA few years ago we had the idea to use the robotic metal 3D printers that we developed to print a full-size functional steel bridge. Along with the excitement of this crazy idea came the realization that there was no way we could do it alone. For a complex and crazy project like this to be successful, it takes a lot of smart and enthusiastic people.
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The image shown shows traders looking at a Markforged sign outside the NYSE. Photo via Markforged.