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3D Printing Bureaus on the Rise: Sandvik’s BEAMIT Acquires 3T Additive Manufacturing

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The BEAMIT Group has acquired polymer and metal additive manufacturing (AM) provider 3T Additive Manufacturing from the German holding group AM Global. The deal represents the first step towards BEAMIT’s global expansion and will help strengthen the AM value chain’s integration and industrialization for serial production of high-end components. Headquartered in the Italian town Fornovo di Taro, BEAMIT has already managed the transition into serial production with key customers and currently produces more than 10,000 components every year.

As part of BEAMIT, 3T will expand its capabilities across the complete AM value chain to include special processes in advanced heat treatment, non-destructive testing (NDT), as well as complex machining and post-processing. Through the deal, the two companies will also complement joint research and development programs on next-generation materials and processes, further consolidating service bureaus in the 3D printing industry.

In 2019, high-tech engineering group Sandvik acquired a significant stake in BEAMIT, establishing a strong industrial partnership with leading capabilities across the AM value chain, including Sandvik’s materials expertise and extensive metal powder capabilities. Based out of Sweden, Sandvik develops, manufactures, and markets tools for metalworking applications, machinery, rock excavation, stainless steel products, special alloys, and resistance heating materials and process systems.

Sandvik had previously made sizable investments into a wide range of AM process technologies for metal components, including powder bed fusion and binder jetting, as it seeks to cover every part of the AM workflow chain, from metal powders to finished components. Through its investment in BEAMIT, Sandvik was looking forward to helping even more industrial customers create value through the application of AM.

“The AM sector is developing fast, and there is a need for dedicated AM partners with specialist skills across the AM value chain, not to mention the resources required to help industrial customers develop and launch their AM programs. Not many AM service companies in the market can offer a complete end-to-end process for the additive manufacturing of complex, high-end components,” said Kristian Egeberg, President of Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

3T Additive Manufacturing facility, Newbury, UK. Image courtesy of Sandvik.

Headquartered in Newbury, UK, 3T produces a wide range of products for its customers, from one-off prototype parts for trial and testing through production runs of end-use components – often in just a few days. 3T holds some of the highest quality certifications for part deliveries to industries like aerospace and medical and is an approved supplier of serial production of many leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the UK, US, Europe, and Japan. Thanks to various metal 3D printers, it can supply on-demand parts to companies like car manufacturers Aston Martin and Rimac or aerospace firm Leonardo.

Focused on creating products to each customer’s exact specifications, 3T collaborates with companies to create mass customized parts. In 2020, 3T teamed up with researchers at the space company Launcher to 3D print a copper rocket chamber in a short turnaround, while, with RaceWare, they developed custom cycle components for bike mounts. Another biking company, HEXR, was trying to develop bespoke cycling helmets to fit each client’s precise specifications. Along with 3T, the team used selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers with 60-watt lasers to carefully sinter a powder made from castor bean oil into the unique honeycomb core of each helmet. Complete with custom text and image engraving, the whole process takes over 24 hours to complete and cost customers £299 ($410).

3T Additive Manufacturing teamed up with Launcher Space to create a copper rocket chamber. Image courtesy of 3T Additive Manufacturing.

According to Daniel Lichtenstein, Managing Director of AM Global, 3T has seen a tremendous transformation over the last 12 months and continues to be at the forefront of AM technology. Although AM Global is now “handing over” 3T Additive Manufacturing to the BEAMIT Group and Sandvik, Lichtenstein stated that this acquisition reaffirms AM Global’s strategy to accelerate the industrialization of 3D printing of high-end components for the most demanding industries.

Following previous mergers with AM service bureau ZARE, innovative 3D post-printing process startup Pres-X, and Proxera, the latest acquisition of 3T will provide unique capabilities for BEAMIT. 3T complements the firm’s fully integrated value chain and more than 20 years experience in additive manufacturing, with established qualified operations. For BEAMIT’s President, Mauro Antolotti, the 3T acquisition “adds great value and expertise to leverage synergies” and consolidate and strengthen its AM service offering. By joining forces with 3T, BEAMIT claims it is trying to create the most advanced and largest AM service provider in Europe, helping customers across different industries transition to 3D printing while driving wider adoption of the technology.

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