Digital inkjet technology developer Xaar plc, which is headquartered in the UK and also manufactures piezoelectric, drop-on-demand industrial printheads, first entered the 3D printing industry back in 2014, when it helped develop the high speed sintering (HSS) FACTUM 3D printer. In 2016, having fully embraced the 3D printing sector, the company announced that it would be opening a new Xaar 3D Centre in Nottingham, in order to more fully focus on developing materials and applications with its global brand partners. The facility opened not long after Xaar introduced a new bundle option with its additive manufacturing development kit and joined a consortium to help develop AMT’s automated, intelligent post-processing machine.
This fall, the company attended the InPrint exhibition in Munich, where Xaar engineer Chris Noble gave a presentation on how inkjet 3D printing, and the company’s technology in particular, is transforming 3D printing from a focus on prototyping to volume production manufacturing.
So with this in mind, Xaar has just announced this week that together with global 3D printing leader Stratasys, it will be participating in a joint investment in its newly formed company, Xaar 3D Limited. This new company will work to develop 3D printing solutions based on Xaar’s HSS technology.
“We are delighted to launch our partnership with Stratasys,” said Doug Edwards, Xaar’s CEO. “This joint investment in the development of 3D printing technologies reinforces the value created by our R&D and continues our plan to diversify Xaar’s business. We are also pleased to be working alongside a leader in the 3D printing space, who recognises the value of Xaar’s technology and expertise.”
Professor Neil Hopkinson, who heads up Xaar’s 3D Centre, is the original inventor of the company’s HSS technology. HSS works by using inkjet printheads and infrared heaters to 3D print products out of polymer powder materials. The technology was engineered specifically to perform at higher speeds and lower costs than other 3D printing processes, which makes it perfect for companies required to 3D print in high volume.The new company, Xaar 3D Ltd, will, according to parent Xaar, “leverage the natural synergies between Xaar and Stratasys,” particularly its HSS technology and industrial piezo inkjet printheads. In addition, Xaar 3D Ltd will take advantage of Stratasys’ extensive commercial and market expertise.
“We are impressed with the Xaar team’s achievements to date,” said Scott Crump, the Chief Innovation Officer at Stratasys. “We believe that the complementary assets of Stratasys and Xaar will enable Xaar 3D Ltd to develop solutions that further address customers’ additive manufacturing requirements for a broader range of production applications.”
85% of Xaar 3D Ltd’s shares will be held by Xaar, with Stratasys holding the remaining 15%. Stratasys has also been awarded the option of increasing its ownership in the new company up to 30%. Edwards will chair the Board of Directors of the new company, which will be holding all of Xaar’s HSS assets.
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