FITTLE, Xerox’s equipment financing division, announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Velo3D, a metal additive manufacturing (AM) original equipment manufacturer (OEM) based in Silicon Valley. The partnership will provide a wider range of purchasing options to Velo3D customers for the company’s line of Sapphire metal printers.
FITTLE established at least two similar partnerships with AM companies last year: one with the construction printing firm Black Buffalo; another, announced in December, 2022, with leading desktop printer OEM, Formlabs. FITTLE’s growing foothold in the AM sector is significant given that Xerox scrapped its AM division last fall, and a partnership with Velo3D seems particularly notable, given that Xerox was attempting to enter the metal AM space with its ElemX printer.
Velo3D is an apt choice of partner for FITTLE, given that the former already has, as a key part of its customer base, small and medium enterprise (SME) machines shops that specialize in making parts for heavy industry. That is also precisely the link in global supply chains that is going to have to scale up the use of advanced manufacturing over the next decade. This is evident, for instance, from the Biden administration’s AM Forward output targets, which largely concern SMEs.
Thus, SMEs are an ideal market for metal AM equipment financing, and Velo3D could see some real benefits from this partnership, likely in the form of repeat business in the near term. From a longer term perspective, though, the company could certainly leverage its partnership with FITTLE to grow its customer base, as well, since equipment financing will lower the barrier to entry for shops with comparatively fewer resources to allocate.
Finally, concerning FITTLE, the most interesting angle to follow will be whether or not a synergy emerges, between the various areas of its AM customer base. It’s unlikely that Xerox got into AM for nothing. ElemX could’ve always been more about setting up Xerox’s presence in the AM sector than it was about launching an actual product line.
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