AMS Spring 2023

Desktop Metal Adds Hydraulics 3D Printing to Portfolio with Aidro Acquisition

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Massachusetts-based metal 3D printing leader Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM), which went public via a SPAC deal in December of 2020, has been announcing a string of industry acquisitions since then, including EnvisionTEC, resin maker Adaptive3D, multimaterial AM startup Aerosint, and most recently binder jetting leader ExOne. Today, the 3D printing unicorn has announced another industry acquisition, that of Italian company Aidro, which designs and produces metal 3D printed components for next-generation hydraulic and fluid power systems.

“This acquisition advances Desktop Metal’s strategy to support our major OEM customers with proprietary design and application know-how as well as through a combination of best-in-class AM products and high-value parts production across killer applications for AM 2.0. Aidro brings a talented team with decades of experience in hydraulics and fluid power systems and a passion for leveraging AM to deliver performance advantages to their customers,” Desktop Metal’s Founder and CEO Ric Fulop said. “We’re excited about the acquisition and look forward to advancing AM 2.0 for high-volume production of hydraulics, valves, fluid power systems, and many more end-use parts in development with Aidro.”

Aidro was founded in 1982, and brings with it nearly 40 years worth of experience in designing and fabricating manifolds, valves, and other hydraulic components and fluid power systems. The family-owned company believes that users across multiple industries, including aerospace, agricultural equipment, oil & gas, mobile and industrial machinery, and more, can benefit from the many advantages of additive manufacturing, including assembly consolidation, lightweighting, and improved performance, and offers customers DfAM expertise, such as topology optimization and finite element analysis (FEA) simulation.

“Additive manufacturing offers benefits unmatched by conventional manufacturing, and once Aidro realized the advantages of leveraging AM, we quickly allocated resources to develop expertise and take advantage of the opportunity. This partnership is the next step in our AM evolution, and now, with access to Desktop Metal’s scale and industry-leading AM 2.0 technology portfolio, including its volume production-focused metal binder jetting solutions, we’re thrilled at the growth potential for Aidro,” stated Valeria Tirelli, Co-CEO and President of Aidro.

The company redesigns traditional hydraulic components so they can be 3D printed, negating assembly and welding requirements by using the complex geometries the technology can achieve to save space, reduce weight, and consolidate multiple components into one piece. While Aidro also uses more conventional manufacturing capabilities, it has invested in AM processes and facilities in order to offer OEMs more custom solutions, which allow for the optimization of geometry and flow channel placement in order to decrease pressure drops and increase flow capacity for hydraulic and fluid power system components. Aidro has a dedicated AM department, which is ISO:9001 and AS/EN9100 certified and includes 3D scanning capabilities and metal 3D printers so it can deliver high-performance products in less time to industrial sectors looking for high-volume quantities of spare parts, end-use components, and on-demand rapid prototypes.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Desktop Metal. This partnership will enable us to continue investing in the expansion of AM for next-generation hydraulic solutions to disrupt massive industries such as oil & gas and aerospace,” said Aidro’s Co-CEO and VP Business Development Tommaso Tirelli.

“With the collaboration and support of Desktop Metal, we will be able to take our AM capabilities in hydraulics to the next level. We are ready to embrace AM to develop innovative products for our customers, leveraging mass production technologies to achieve affordable part costs and high-performance designs that overcome the limitations of conventional manufacturing,” Aidro GM Alberto Tacconelli concluded.

Obviously, this is a mutually beneficial deal, as Desktop Metal will be able to add important design and production capabilities to its ever-increasing portfolio and help speed up the adoption of Additive Manufacturing 2.0 by major OEMs for tough, high-performance industrial applications. The company reported high revenues in Q3 of 2021, thanks to an increase in metal product shipments and contributions from consumables, photopolymer products, and EnvisionTEC. It will be interesting to see Desktop Metal’s financials next quarter after this latest acquisition.

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