Desktop Metal Buys 3D Printing Resin Maker Adaptive3D

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Since its 2020 IPO, Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM) has been growing quickly, making three acquisitions already so far in 2021. After polymer pioneer EnvisionTEC and wood 3D printing startup Forust, Desktop Metal has purchased resin manufacturer Adaptive3D.

Spun out of research from the University of Texas at Dallas with core technology developed by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding, Adaptive3D received investments from Covestro, Arkema Group, West Pharmaceuticals, Applied Ventures, and Royal DSM. Needless to say, a number of experts have already validated the startup’s materials and potential. This includes Adaptive3D’s Elastic ToughRubber 90, a tough elastomer resin with high tear strength and elongation at break.

3D printed midsole made with Adaptive3D photopolymers. Image courtesy of Desktop Metal.

“The acquisition of Adaptive3D advances Desktop Metal’s vertical integration strategy to grow our portfolio of materials and expand the high-volume applications supported by our polymer additive manufacturing solutions,” said Ric Fulop, Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “Elastomers and rubber materials are a killer app for Additive Manufacturing 2.0 (AM 2.0). Adaptive3D has the best photoelastomer resins in the world. Combining Adaptive3D’s patented and superior elastomer materials with our printers, such as the Xtreme 8K, which lead the industry in throughput, affordability, and part quality, will accelerate the adoption of additively manufactured solutions for high-volume, end-use elastomeric parts and products.”

The acquisition is meant to strengthen Desktop Metal’s already substantial role in photopolymer 3D printing, driven by its subsidiary EnvisionTEC. Adaptive3D had partnered with the inventor of digital light processing (DLP) to see its photoelastomers 3D printed on EnvisionTEC machines, including the Xtreme 8K, meant for wide-area 3D printing. Together, it’s possible to 3D print large volumes of parts made from polyurethane-like, silicone-like, and rubber-like materials.

3D printed parts made using Adaptive3D photoelastomers. Image courtesy of Desktop Metal.

“We are thrilled to partner with Desktop Metal to enable additive manufacturing through our differentiated materials,” said Dr. Walter Voit, Founder and CEO of Adaptive3D. “This acquisition extends our already strong partnership with EnvisionTEC, enabling us to accelerate our growth into the $129 billion1 elastomer and flexible foams market just waiting for high-volume, additive manufacturing elastomer capabilities.”

This expands the company’s existing materials portfolio, which already consists of more than 225 qualified materials, including metals, composites, ceramics, biocompatible materials, polymers, and wood. It would seem, then, that Desktop Metal is looking to create the most diverse materials portfolio on the market. Will we see concrete and sand next? Or maybe Desktop Metal will finally enable the roll out of EnvisionTEC’s large-scale composite 3D printer.

Walter Voit will continue to lead Adaptive3D from its headquarters in Plano, Texas, where it will act as a wholly owned subsidiary of Desktop Metal.

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