Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printing Provider Fathom Acquires Injection Molding Firm

ST Medical Devices

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With more than 100 large-platform industrial-grade 3D printers, as well as services including CNC machining, injection molding, and urethane casting, Fathom is one of the biggest on-demand digital manufacturing platforms in North America. The company, which has locations in California, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin, was acquired by Chicago-based private equity firm CORE Industrial Partners (CORE) in 2018 as a portfolio company. After CORE acquired Midwest Composite Technologies and Fathom acquired metal 3D printing services provider GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services, it then became one of the country’s largest privately held digital manufacturing services conglomerates.

But now it’s getting a little bigger, as Fathom is acquiring its fourth add-on company since 2018 with the acquisition of injection molding and precision tooling services provider Summit Tooling, Inc. and Summit Plastics, Inc., collectively known as Summit.

“Summit’s focus on customers during the design, prototyping and low-volume production stages of a product’s life cycle perfectly aligns with Fathom’s unique customer value proposition,” said Fathom CEO Ryan Martin. “We’re excited to work with the Summit team to explore opportunities to even better serve its customers through Fathom’s comprehensive digital manufacturing platform while also providing Fathom’s existing customer base expanded domestic quick-turn precision tooling and molding capabilities.”

Summit, founded in 1996 and headquartered northwest of Chicago, Summit specializes in small-to-medium prototype injection molds, but also offers close-tolerance injection molding, precision mold-making, and high-quality plastic injection mold design services. In its 26,000 square foot facility, which holds over 30 machines, the company focuses on applications for customers with lengthy tenures in the packaging end and medical markets.

“Since my wife, Michelle, and I founded Summit 25 years ago, we’ve been committed to providing outstanding quality and customer service to build the business into a leader in the design, engineering and construction of molds and molded components,” explained Dan Martin, the President of Summit. “We’ve now reached an inflection point in our growth trajectory, and we believe Fathom is the perfect fit in terms of both culture and customer value proposition to help take Summit to the next level.”

Example of a single cavity prototype unit tool (Image courtesy of Summit)

CORE invests in lower middle-market manufacturing and industrial technology businesses, like Fathom and Summit. But while Summit isn’t a gigantic company, the list of services it offers is pretty sizeable. Thanks to its thermoplastic engineering knowledge, Summit is able to process bi-injected and multi-shot tooling, as well as insert overmolding. In addition, Summit offers plenty of metalworking and other capabilities on-site, including the following:

  • sheet metal shearing
  • roll forming
  • punching and bending
  • welding
  • hot stamping
  • hardware integration
  • engineering design
  • assembly and painting
  • pad printing
  • grinding and polishing
  • ultrasonic welding

“Summit’s leading customer base includes some of the largest and most recognizable players in the medical and packaging spaces,” stated CORE Partner Matthew Puglisi. “This acquisition significantly enhances Fathom’s domestic injection molding and tooling capabilities, and we’ll continue to actively pursue acquisitions, similar to Summit, that simultaneously broaden our customer base, enhance our service offering and deepen our presence in attractive, recession-resistant end markets.”

While Summit doesn’t offer any 3D printing technologies, Fathom does, and injection molding and 3D printing can go hand in hand more than you may think.

(Images courtesy of Fathom unless otherwise noted)

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