Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Shapeways Extends Partnership With Desktop Metal to Add 3D Printing Capabilities


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After a year of working towards heightened adoption of 3D printing technology, Shapeways (NYSE: SHPW) and Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM) have decided to extend their partnership to increase anytime, anywhere access to world-class additive manufacturing (AM) services. Through the collaboration, Shapeways will add Desktop Metal platforms to its ISO-9001 manufacturing facilities in New York and the Netherlands. In turn, Desktop Metal will offer its customers Shapeway’s Otto purpose-built software platform for instant access to entirely digitized, end-to-end 3D printing workflows.

Focused on offering manufacturing and engineering teams unprecedented flexibility and seamless access to industry-leading 3D printing services, the duo is building on the success of its existing strategic partnership, which began in early 2021. Shapeways, a leader in powering digital manufacturing, already had some metal offerings on site but was primarily focused on polymer applications. With Desktop Metal, the company took a huge leap into the metal space, offering customers one of the best-in-class metal AM manufacturers. At the time, we also learned that Desktop Metal was one of the investors backing Shapeways’ move to become a publicly listed company.

3D printed metal connector manufactured by Shapeways

3D printed metal connector manufactured by Shapeways. Image courtesy of Shapeways.

According to Desktop Metal CEO and founder Ric Fulop, the partnership will give startups and users who are not ready to buy their own equipment instant access to its comprehensive portfolio of high-speed, AM 2.0 printing platforms and rich materials library. The aim is to offer these customers an expedited production process, reduced costs, and flexible, overflow manufacturing capacity. Considering that many users worldwide don’t have access to high-quality industrial-grade metal manufacturing, it’s imperative to see more initiatives like this one.

By early 2022, Shapeways will have a full rollout of Desktop Meal’s printing solutions at its facilities in Long Beach, New York, and Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. Moreover, customers will be able to access a broad portfolio of proprietary technology, including the leading brand’s office-friendly Studio System for making metal prototypes and one-off parts; the customer-ready metal part manufacturer called Shop System; and the high-speed metal part Production System. Shapeways will also add Desktop Metal’s Fiber, a continuous carbon fiber printer, and RAM technology for wood 3D printing, as well as a variety of EnvisionTEC 3D photopolymer printing solutions to expand its global manufacturing footprint across metals, elastomers, polymers, composites, and digital casting applications.

3D printed metal connector manufactured by Shapeways

3D printed metal bulb nozzle manufactured by Shapeways. Image courtesy of Shapeways.

In the future, Shapeways plans to add any new machines launched by the Massachusetts-based company, perhaps even a few systems by ExOne, which Desktop Metal recently acquired in a $575 million deal. What’s more, as part of a strategic expansion initiative, Shapeways also hopes to include an extended suite of post-processing and finishing options to its digital manufacturing platform in the next few years.

“Together, Desktop Metal and Shapeways are democratizing 3D printing, reinforced by our ability to offer anytime, anywhere access to an extensible array of high-quality manufacturing services,” said Shapeways CEO Greg Kress. “As Desktop Metal’s largest manufacturing services partner, we are committed to establishing ourselves as the ‘go-to’ company for businesses around the world seeking fast, efficient, execution in turning digital designs into physical products.”

The companies believe they are uniquely positioned to enable strong customer outcomes, including high-performance end-use parts delivered with a strong return on investment (ROI), across the most demanding industry sectors, including aerospace, automotive, consumer products, defense, industrial, and healthcare.

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