Japanese Giant Sumitomo Corporation Invests in Sintavia Metal 3D Printing

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One of the world’s largest traders of goods and services, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA) announced it will increase investment in metal additive manufacturing company Sintavia. The transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of 2020, will help fund Sintavia’s rapidly growing business of providing additively manufactured parts to the world’s largest aerospace and space companies.

The new investment revealed on August 4, 2020, follows an initial investment by SCOA in 2018 and will serve Sintavia to scale its production capacity for flight-critical components that are produced via additive manufacturing (AM) while continuing to advance its industry-leading technical capabilities. In addition to the financial investment, SCOA and Sintavia will continue to identify opportunities to apply Sintavia’s best-in-class AM and design capabilities for the global industrial activities of SCOA’s parent company, Japanese-based Sumitomo Corporation Group.

“Since our initial investment in 2018, we’ve been impressed by Sintavia’s leadership and growth in such a short time,” said Kevin Hyuga, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SCOA’s Construction and Transportation Systems Group. “We see continued synergies in the future through this partnership and look forward to continuing to help Sintavia support the Aerospace and Space industry. Moreover, Sintavia is well-aligned with our company’s sustainability goals. Through its technology, Sintavia is capable of reducing waste in the AM production process, allowing end-stage products to fly lighter, ultimately reducing greenhouse gases and helping to create a more sustainable society.”

Sintavia’s M400-4 has four lasers working together to complete builds up to 400 x 400 x 400 mm. (Image courtesy of Business Wire)

Since its initial investment in 2018, the Sumitomo Corporation Group claimed it has supported Sintavia produce parts for domestic customers as a representative in the Japanese market, as well as create synergy with existing businesses and group companies. For example, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, a joint venture with Collins Aerospace, has developed products for space application using parts additively manufactured by Sintavia. In fact, as Sintavia plans to expand further its business for the aerospace market, the Sumitomo Corporation Group anticipates that greater alliances can be created through collaboration, which supported the decision to make a follow-on investment in Sintavia.

The Sumitomo Corporation Group also revealed that it will utilize its broad customer base and its business portfolio to contribute to Sintavia’s further growth to also enlarge its value proposition to domestic and international customers, mainly in the aerospace industry.

Although financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, we do know that this was the third round for Sintavia, following an initial Series A round in 2015 and Series B funding round two years, later valued at a total of $25 million.

An Inconel 718 aircraft-engine bracket, redesigned and optimized for AM by Sintavia as a test project to explore the environmental impact of AM (Image courtesy of Sintavia)

Headquartered in Hollywood, Florida, Sintavia has been involved in the AM market for eight years and has since made an impact on the industry through the development of new printing processes and a new facility. Back in 2018, it became the first company to receive internal approval to 3D print flightworthy production parts, using a powder bed fusion process, for Honeywell Aerospace. Then in 2019, it acquired QC Laboratories to expand testing for 3D printed parts.

This new investment with a strong focus on leveraging AM for space comes at a time when new players looking to capitalize on space opportunities are thriving. Greater accessibility and cost-effective manufacturing options thanks to 3D printing are expected to bring potential opportunities to related fields such as space exploration, satellite technology, and commercial rocket manufacturing. The outer space revolution promises a new dynamic ecosystem for companies like Sintavia, focusing on technology that could accelerate time to market, reduce production costs, and even wastes produced from materials during manufacturing processes. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for faster production options as well as an improved supply chain management, and 3D printing ideally falls under that category.

“We truly value SCOA as a long-term partner for Sintavia and are excited to expand our existing relationship. With this investment, we are further aligning ourselves with a global thought leader in AM that is committed to supporting our continued growth,” said Brian Neff, Sintavia’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Neff Capital Management LLC, Sintavia’s majority owner.

Sintavia is the only company in the world with Nadcap approvals for laser additive manufacturing, electron beam additive manufacturing, and in-house heat treatment. (Image courtesy of Business Wire)

Sintavia has long been working with its customers to identify the right parameters that will allow for the quality high-speed production of parts, claiming it has become the global independent leader in design for AM for critical industries. By operating a range of printers, post-processing equipment, mechanical testing equipment, and a lab for the development of metals and powders, the company is providing additively manufactured parts to the world’s largest aerospace companies. As one of the few firms holding Nadcap approvals for laser AM, electron beam AM, and in-house heat treatment, it has recently received production contracts expanding its business and positioning itself beyond the startup phase.

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