3D Printing News Briefs: November 21, 2017

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Today in 3D Printing News Briefs, business is taking the focus. At formnext last week, DyeMansion and EOS announced a strategic partnership, and DSM Somos has partnered with UnionTech for materials distribution. Proto Labs will acquire RAPID Manufacturing Group, while TechShop closes its doors due to bankruptcy. SLM Solutions receives a large order for its new SLM 800 machine at formnext, and 3D Platform hits a major 3D printer milestone.

DyeMansion and EOS Form Strategic Partnership

(L-R) Felix Ewald, CEO DyeMansion; Adrian Keppler, CEO EOS GmbH; and Philipp Kramer, CTO DyeMansion at EOS in Krailling.

At last week’s formnext trade fair in Frankfurt, EOS exhibited its plastic AM portfolio, including its new EOS P 500, while AM finishing systems leader DyeMansion showcased its three-stage Print-to-Product workflow, for depowdering, surfacing, and coloring. Also at the event, the two companies announced that they had entered into a strategic partnership, to offer their customers full polymer AM process chains. EOS will combine the complementary portfolios of both companies for high-value consumer and industrial product chains, implementing DyeMansion’s workflow equipment at its Krailling, Germany headquarters so its customers can enjoy high-end, quickly colored 3D printed products.

“We are proud that EOS has selected DyeMansion as a strategic solution partner. Together we are able to offer the ‘Print-to-Product’ workflow to the most demanding AM customers worldwide,” said Kai Witter, Director Global Sales, DyeMansion. “Since the product launch at formnext 2016, DyeMansion has delivered more than 70 systems which proves the great acceptance of their solution portfolio. Now together with EOS, we have a strong partner who will help us serving even more AM customers around the world.”

DSM Somos Works on Materials Distribution with UnionTech

Example of Somos Perform in prototype injection molding tooling.

Since 2003, Shanghai Union Technology Corp. (UnionTech) has had an active distribution agreement for DSM’s Somos SLA materials. However, because the company expanded into the US and European markets last year, it has now augmented its original partnership agreement with DSM Somos to include global distribution of the Somos materials. The new agreement covers all Somos materials that are available for UnionTech’s PILOTRe commercial series, and its RSPro production product lines. Additionally, UnionTech will also offer its in-house developed PolyDevs software to commercial 3D printing users as a more cost-effective option for PILOT data preparation.

Barry Tsou, UnionTech President, said, “We are proud to work very closely with the Somos group, combining our fully open hardware platform technology with their constant innovation in resin development. Working together on open platforms brings huge benefits in developing materials that meet the criteria of our customers needs directly.”

Proto Labs to Acquire RAPID Manufacturing Group

With the acquisition of RAPID, Proto Labs expands its manufacturing services to include low-volume sheet metal fabrication. [Image: Proto Labs]

Today, Proto Labs announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire RAPID Manufacturing Group, a privately-held custom parts supplier in New Hampshire that specializes in CNC machining and quick-turn sheet metal fabrication. By acquiring RAPID for an aggregate purchase price of $120 million ($10 million in stock and $110 million in cash), Proto Labs will expand its services with the addition of quick-turn sheet metal fabrication, which reinforces promises the company has made to its customers to improve supply chain efficiencies and optimize product development. Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction should close by the end of the year.

“We listen to our customers very closely to understand their needs. We continue to look for opportunities to expand our capabilities to serve our existing customers and to expand our customer base. RAPID not only adds quick-turn and e-commerce-enabled sheet metal services to our portfolio, it also expands our machining capabilities to support larger and more complex projects,” explained Vicki Holt, CEO of Proto Labs. “In addition, RAPID’s culture is highly aligned with that of Proto Labs, with a talented and experienced team that we are very excited to welcome to the Proto Labs family.”

Proto Labs will host an analyst day next month, where Holt and other Proto Labs leadership team members will present on the company’s business strategies and growth opportunities, including its RAPID acquisition. Starting at 10 AM EST on December 12th, a live webcast of the event will be available on the company’s investor relations page, with a webcast replay available shortly after the analyst day is over.

TechShop Closes US Locations, Files for Bankruptcy

In June, open-access makerspace TechShop made the decision to close its Pittsburgh location, as it wasn’t meeting its operating expenses in the wake of the membership-based business making an effort to stabilize by reducing cash deficit and improving individual store performances. But recently, TechShop shuttered all 10 of its US locations, and its small corporate group, and declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy; global locations owned by overseas licensees are not affected.

In a notice to members, published in full on the Make: site, TechShop CEO Dan Woods wrote, “I’m not going to spin this. We’ve been operating on exceedingly low cash balances for quite some time now. Until recently, this meant late payment to instructors and vendors, which none of us liked, but at least we were able to pay everyone, albeit several weeks late, and keep the doors open. As I shared with many of you directly, I wasn’t happy operating that way. We were trying to do whatever we could to keep the doors open and remain operational so that we could see the light of the next day and hopefully close on a couple of large licensing deals we had been working on. However, this cannot go on any longer. The current cash conditions — and the toll they are taking on employees, instructors, and members — are entirely unacceptable.

“In hindsight, we invested too many years and too many dollars trying to prop up the wrong business model. What we accomplished over the past ten years, however, has been nothing less than monumental. I encourage our members, employees, partners, and the entire maker community to take something constructive from TechShop’s experience: the world needs makerspaces.”

TechShop explored options to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy instead, which would have allowed the organization to reorganize and restructure its debt, but ultimately did not have the required funds to do so.

SLM Solutions Receives Major 3D Printer Order at formnext

[Image: SLM Solutions via Twitter]

Metal 3D printer supplier SLM Solutions Group AG presented its new large-format SLM 800 machine model at formnext last week, and on the very first day received a major order for 20 of the machines, and one SLM 280, from an energy sector customer based in Asia, where the company has been working to attain a more noticeable presence since its 2014 IPO. The total volume of the contract is at least €37 million, with the possibility of increasing the order volume with the purchase of additional SLM 500 machines at a later date.

“The outstanding quality of build parts that can be achieved on all our machine types, our market-leading multi-laser technology and in particular the large construction chamber of the SLM 800 convinced the customer,” said Henner Schöneborn, board member of SLM Solutions. “We are convinced that the new machine model is of great interest to many companies around the world who are planning the use of production-oriented additive manufacturing machines in their manufacturing processes.”

The 3D printing systems will be delivered to the customer between 2017 and 2019.

3D Platform Ships 500th Large Format 3D Printer

Illinois-based 3D printer manufacturer 3DPlatform (3DP), which develops large format, industrial FFF machines, celebrated a major milestone earlier this month – it has now shipped out 500 large format 3D printers to customers in just three years. The company has worked hard to develop a solution that would work for many different customers, resulting in the WorkSeries and its four base models: the WorkTable, WorkBench Classic, WorkBench Pro, and Workbench Xtreme; the 3D printer line also has several options and upgrades available. Obviously, as the 500th machine shipped earlier this month, 3DP’s customers appreciate the company’s efforts.

“3DP’s commitment to our customers has led to a very loyal customer base with many them coming back to purchase another printer,” said Mark Huebner, Market Development Manager for 3D Platform. “We have multiple customers who own more than 5 printers! They will use them not only for prototyping, but deploy them in production support capacities.”

Discuss these stories, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 


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