Additive Manufacturing Strategies

UnionTech Takes $31M to Grow SLA 3D Printing

ST Medical Devices

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Shanghai-based 3D printer manufacturer UnionTech has announced a significant funding round worth 200 million Yuan (USD$31 million). The series D financing was led by Dening Capital, with participation from Money Capital, Yingke Private Equity, Dragonrise Capital, Evonik Equity Capital GmbH and more. This substantial influx of cash will likely see the firm grow rapidly alongside other major Chinese manufacturers like Farsoon and INTAMSYS.

Founded in 2000, UnionTech is primarily focused on stereolithography (SLA), claiming to maintain the largest market share for SLA in China. This includes standard laser-based SLA machines and digital light processing (DLP) UV projector-based 3D printers, from small medical and dental systems like the S110 to large-scale production printers like the D800. Additionally, UnionTech has developed its own software suite, which includes pre-print software Polydevs, print management tool RSCON/DSCON, and cloud-based fleet control software UnionFab—in other words, a complete software ecosystem.

Image courtesy of UnionTech.

Among other things, the company suggests it has over 2,000 customers globally, 137 patents, some 5,500 pieces of equipment installed around the world, and a 52 percent revenue growth rate from 2012 to 2021. UnionTech also says that it spent more than 100 million Yuan (USD$16 million) on research and development over the past three years.

Interestingly, UnionTech sells resins made formerly by DSM, now Covestro, for its machines, but Evonik, previously focused on polymer sintering powders, has been investing in the Chinese firm since at least 2020 when it acquired a minority stake. Evonik, which developed the first synthetic powder for selective laser sintering (SLS) in 1996, began breaking into other polymer formats in 2020 with a poly ether ether ketone (PEEK) filament for extrusion.

UnionTech’s various lines of 3D printers. Image courtesy of UnionTech.

Backing UnionTech not only gets the materials firm into photopolymers, but also the rapidly growing Chinese market, where Farsoon dominates in SLS and metal powder bed fusion and INTAMSYS is the current leader in industrial material extrusion. Both of those companies are expanding quickly, as Farsoon reported record sales in Q3 and INTAMSYS received an investment from Porsche. Meanwhile, desktop systems from China now dominate the low-cost sector. This includes Creality, Elegoo, and nearly countless others.

Perhaps UnionTech will use this funding to broaden into SLS and extrusion with the support of Evonik. Otherwise, we can imagine it continuing to add to its already robust portfolio of SLA and DLP machines, maybe venturing into large-scale continuous DLP similar to Azul 3D in the U.S. Or maybe it will simply add to its international teams.

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