Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Desktop Metal Goes Public: Metal 3D Printing Unicorn Trades as DM on NYSE

ST Medical Devices

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Desktop Metal completed its merger with Trine Acquisition Corp today, and the new company is publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the stock ticker “DM” as of this morning. As a result of the merger, Desktop Metal has $580 million in capital at its disposal, a mixture of cash from Trine’s trust accounts and from private investment in public equity (PIPE). How exactly the company plans to expand aggressively with the windfall of capital is somewhat of a mystery.

Desktop Metal’s co-founder and CEO Ric Fullop appeared in an interview earlier today on CNBC to shed some light on the company’s direction post-SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) merger saying, “We were fully funded before we did this transaction, and this gives us a chance to pursue some inorganic opportunities as we continue our organic growth. It’s a real opportunity to scale the business and allows us more degrees of freedom.”

Despite this equivocation, Fullop mentioned that Desktop Metal’s business and model is currently focused on end-use parts as opposed to prototyping or tooling and included Materialise and Protolabs among comparable companies. Well, thanks, Ric, but there is not much to chew on there. After all, the whole low-cost metal market in additive manufacturing is moving in that direction.

With a current market valuation of $2.5 billion, Desktop Metal is now a double unicorn. But is Desktop Metal’s current valuation too high?

In our previous coverage of this story, Joris Peels, 3DPrint.com’s own Executive Editor and Vice President of Consulting at SmarTech Analysis was asked for his insights. He said that the valuation is aggressive and raised questions about how Desktop Metal has “consistently overstated its capabilities”. He also acknowledged that this is a foundational time for the low-cost metal 3D printing market and that there are a handful of low-cost metal AM startups and bigger players like GE that will certainly be competing against Desktop Metal for market share.

In the second half of 2021, Desktop Metal will release its highly anticipated Production System P-50 Printer. The company is planning for volume commercial shipments of the P-50 system in the latter half of 2021.

Desktop Metal Is Betting Big on the Production System P-50

The Production System P-50 Printer uses Desktop Metal’s proprietary Single Pass Jetting technology to achieve incredible build speeds of up to 12,000 cc/hr, nearly matching the speed and efficiency of traditional mass production techniques. The P-50 uses low cost metal injection molding powders and a specially designed build chamber to produce parts at high-volume and for end-use applications.

Metal parts 3D printed with Desktop Metal’s technology. Image courtesy of Desktop Metal.

The build box envelope is 490 x 380 x 260 mm (19.2 x 15.0 x 10.2 in) is pretty large, but not large enough to compete with the scale at which products are made through existing traditional manufacturing methodologies.

Desktop Metal is now a publicly traded company, and they may soon follow up with a release of Production System P-1, which uses similar technology to the P-50. It will likely be a lower-cost, lower-capability offering meant to tide the market over until later this year when it releases the Production System P-50.

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