After Sandvik acquired a substantial stake in June 2019, Beam IT has made a massive purchase of metal 3D printers from SLM Solutions. Italy’s largest 3D printing service bureau has signed a letter of intent to buy 15 selective laser melting (SLM) machines over the next three years.
The exact systems Beam IT intends to buy fall across SLM’s entire product range, including the SLM280, SLM500 and SLM800. In particular, the company is investing in the multi-laser and closed-loop powder handling technology featured on the machines. This, the Beam IT team believes, results in higher productivity and a more reliable, safe and efficient method for 3D printing parts. The purchase is a part of Beam IT’s expansion of its manufacturing plant, which is more than twice as large as the previous space.
Mauro Antolotti, Chairman and Founder of Beam IT, said of the agreement, “Through the replacement of single laser products with SLM Solutions` multi-laser technology we are able to increase our productivity and provide competitive pricing to our customers. By partnering with SLM Solutions, we can meet our customer’s requirements to build high quality parts at increased productivity and expand our facilities.”
The 15 machines will augment Beam IT’s existing array of 20 metal powder bed fusion machines already installed. The company’s AS 9100 certifications for aerospace, and NADCAP approval, make it a substantial firm in the service bureau sector.
The purchase also signals Sandvik’s increased strength in the AM space, which already consists of metal powders manufacturing and engineering services. As a leading engineering multinational, the company has implemented 3D printing to improve both its own products and those of its customers. This includes the CoroMill 390 milling cutter, steel sliding cases for LKAB Wassara, Varel’s nozzles for hard-rock drilling, and a coolant clamp for Seco Tools.
All of this is a part of Sandvik’s larger strategy of maintaining growth and the top position in the world of the $17 billion metal cutting tools market, of which it represents roughly one fifth. In turn, Sandvik, Beam IT and SLM Solutions stand to become increasingly important players in the 3D printing industry. This will obviously be beneficial to SLM Solutions, in particular. Not just because of the revenue generated from the sale of each machine, but also due to the revamp in its image after failing to secure an acquisition by GE in 2016.
Based on the types of projects and deals that the company has been involved in over the past several years, it seems as though SLM Solutions has recovered from the snafu. In addition to the significant partnership with Beam IT, SLM has been working with Honeywell for metal 3D printing qualification, selling machines to Rolls Royce, and involved in the 3D printing of parts for Bugatti, among other things.
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