Xerox FITTLE Division to Help Black Buffalo 3D Bring Real-World 3D Printing Technology to Market
Recently renamed LITTLE, Xerox’s financial services unit specializes in helping businesses adapt to market conditions and grow, while identifying opportunities for its parent company to expand into new areas. Under a recently signed collaboration agreement, the company is now ready to help Black Buffalo 3D’s technologies gain traction in construction, by offering to fund projects in which they can be deployed.
“This partnership just makes sense and we are thrilled for our clients,” added Tim Murphy, president of Black Buffalo 3D Finance. “It’s the convergence of ConTech and FinTech, which now enables construction companies and contractors to solve the affordable housing crisis faster, more efficiently, and with manageable monthly payments instead of massive upfront costs.”
Black Buffalo 3D NEXCON Technology
Pennsylvania-based Black Buffalo 3D manufactures construction 3D printers designed to be rented on a “pay-per-print” basis. The company fulfills these orders using its proprietary NEXCON gantry-mounted systems. These units feature a modular rail system, which allows users to customize their print area, meet project-specific requirements, and scale to complete large community builds.
Black Buffalo 3D’s NEXCON machines also incorporate an open hopper design, giving users a direct line of sight for inspection, while its print speed of 9.8 inches per second matches the Occupational Safety and Health Administration limit and allows the creation of structures of 1,000 square feet in less than 20 hours.
Already, such benefits have seen Black Buffalo 3D selected to deliver large-scale housing projects, such as plans for Alquist 3D to 3D print 200 homes. The buildings are being constructed to meet the needs of the growing workforce of Pulaski, a city in Virginia’s New River Valley, which is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States for tech jobs.
Xerox leans more on AM?
Formerly known as Xerox Financial Services (XFS), FITTLE is essentially a financing arm of Xerox dedicated to helping any business looking to procure equipment. The company’s financing isn’t just for people working in construction, and its offerings are designed to help partners acquire everything from IT services, software and AV equipment to security hardware.
In addition to equipment rental and finance programs, FITTLE also offers partner rental programs, sales channel programs, and support services, but its partnership with Black Buffalo 3D is expected to focus primarily on early adopters. . Through what FITTLE calls “extended financing offers,” the companies aim to make NEXCON 3D printers as easily adopted as possible by those looking for new construction technologies.
“As a global provider of innovative corporate finance solutions, FITTLE is well positioned to support Black Buffalo 3D’s growth during this transformative time for the business,” said Nicole Torraco, President of FITTLE. “We look forward to building a strong and lasting partnership as the company continues to disrupt the construction industry.”
The move also signals a deepening of Xerox’s ties to the 3D printing industry. While traditionally marketing 2D rather than 3D printing, Xerox unveiled a roadmap to “participate” in 3D printing in 2018. Over the following months, Xerox acquired Vader Systems, a printer manufacturer 3D jet of liquid metal, before making sound Next form debut in 2019.
Since then, Xerox has abandoned plans to buy HP, investing instead in launching its first 3D printer, the ElemX. Over the past 18 months, the École supérieure navale has acquired an ElemX for R&D, while Vertex Manufacturing has installed a Xerox 3D printer for industrial production purposes. However, thanks to its FITTLE branch, Xerox now seems to be expanding its 3D printing interests in a new direction.
Invest in concrete 3D printing
Although the technology has yet to completely disrupt the construction industry, its potential has begun to attract significant investment in concrete 3D printing companies. During May 2022, GE Wind turbine manufacturing arm GE Renewable Energy invested in COBOD, in a deal that would have given it better access to the company’s machinery.
On a larger scale, ICON raised a further $185 million in February 2022, in a deal that saw its valuation surpass the $2 billion mark. The company has previously pledged to use any funding raised to increase capacity and grow its team of engineers, architects and operational managers, with the aim of “bringing housing and construction into the modern world”. .
Elsewhere, the US Department of Energy issued a $39 million construction 3D printing grant, designed to support the development of the technology. Of the 18 projects that will receive a share of this funding, those of Texas A&M University and the University of Pennsylvania are attempting particularly daring advances, one developing a “hemp concrete” material and the other a carbon-absorbing floor.
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The image shown shows the NEXCON construction 3D printer from Black Buffalo 3D. Image via Black Buffalo 3D.