Belgium-based Materialise has been working in the 3D printing industry for nearly 30 years now, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Across its numerous worldwide branches, the company, fresh off a strong showing at the recent TCT Show where its CEO was inducted into the TCT Hall of Fame, combines the industry’s biggest group of software developers, and has one of the largest 3D printing facilities in the world as well. Today, Materialise is expanding its office capacity even further by opening a new building at its headquarters in Leuven, not long after its new office in Poland was inaugurated.
“It makes me incredibly proud to see the continued growth and development of Materialise,” said Materialise CEO Wilfried Vancraen. “From just a small room at the KU Leuven 27 years ago to two new buildings in this year, we’ll be able to meet increasing demands and further our position in the industry.”
Vancraen attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Poland facility last month before the TCT Show; the company has been working for some time now to expand its activities in the country. This new building is the biggest facility of its kind in Poland, and has a lot of extra production capacity – enough to fit 80 SLS 3D printers.
“The new facility will give us the necessary space to expand our capacity, which will make us the largest 3D printing facility in Poland,” said Piotr Adamczewski, Managing Director of Materialise Poland. “In this way, Materialise can keep growing and providing our customers with an extensive range of technologies to choose from across the world.”
The company’s Factory for 3D Printing in Leuven is one of the biggest in the world, featuring over 150 machines in all of the major 3D printing techniques and an ever-increasing demand for certified serial production and quick adoption of the newest technologies, such as HP’s Multi Jet Fusion.Now it’s expanding even more with the opening of the new building, which was attended by Vancraen and inaugurated by Louis Tobback, the mayor of Leuven, and will include building tours. The new space will increase both 3D printing production capacity and room for employees: in addition to an extra 5,500 m² of office space to accommodate the company’s growing workforce, the building will also include new co-creation and partner rooms to continue strengthening and supporting Materialise’s services, solutions, and partnerships.
Speaking of expansion, this week Materialise also announced the acquisition of Germany-based ACTech, a full-service manufacturer that produces limited runs of complex cast metal parts.
“ACTech knows metal and how to shape it to production standard, and we know Metal 3D Printing,” said Vancraen. “Bringing those two competencies together is vital to the delivery of high added-value metal 3D-printed parts for specialized applications.”
ACTech has over two decades’ worth of experience and knowledge in producing and treating complex metal parts, as well as taking care of quality control; it also carries out CNC machining processes related to rapid prototyping.
By acquiring the company, Materialise will increase its ability to offer total, comprehensive manufacturing solutions for 3D printed metal parts, and be able to improve upon its software suite for metal 3D printing, by “taking advantage of learning from an active metal manufacturing environment.”
“Through the acquisition, we are further enhancing the manufacturing and software backbone position that will support the entire industry,” Vancraen said. “For over 27 years, we have always been there as a leading, comprehensive provider of solutions in industrial polymers printing. That position has enabled us to both develop and serve a growing demand for certified manufacturing with dedicated software and solutions. By joining forces with ACTech, we will accelerate that same strategy for metal manufacturing.”
As a result of this acquisition, Materialise will be able to continue developing its metal competence center by leveraging ACTech’s in-house infrastructure and metal expertise, and grab a strong market position for 3D printing and delivering complex metal parts.
On the other side of the deal, Materialise will be able to use its experience with metal 3D printing to help ACTech grow its own position in markets that value speed and complexity. ACTech’s existing customers will also be able to access metal 3D printed parts from Materialise for pre-production design iterations.
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