CORE Industrial Partners’ 3D Printing Buying Spree Continues with New Acquisition

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CORE Industrial Partners completes its eleventh 3D printing firm acquisition in less than five years. Headquartered in Chicago, this private equity firm continues to focus on acquiring manufacturing, industrial technology, and industrial service companies. The latest addition to its growing portfolio is on-demand prototype manufacturer Phoenix Proto Technologies, which will be added to the RE3DTECH+GoProto part of CORE’s business. Like most of its previous acquisitions, the buyout amount is not being disclosed.

As part of the RE3DTECH+GoProto platform, Phoenix Proto’s injection molding expertise will complement the additive manufacturing and CNC machining capabilities at RE3DTECH+GoProto, expanding the business’s ability to offer both prototyping as well as production volumes across different technologies.

Recognizing potential

With over a decade of industry experience, Phoenix Proto specializes in the design, production-quality aluminum tooling, and injection molding services for prototypes through production quantity parts. In addition to tooling and injection molding, the firm also offers CNC machining and additive manufacturing services to its customers in the medical, aerospace, defense, consumer, and industrial end markets.

This Michigan-based business results from Founder and CEO Bob Lammon’s 40-year experience building prototypes and production molds. Although Phoenix Proto was founded in 2008, Lammon’s moldmaking undertakings began in the 1980s and evolved to incorporate aluminum tooling as one of the strongest alternatives to steel molds. This background allowed Phoenix Proto to become a supplier of plastic prototypes and aluminum production injection molds.

Known for its “no design limitation prototypes in three weeks or less,” this family-owned business has moved on to incorporate 3D printing capabilities to offer printed molds. Much like Lammon has advocated for the aluminum tooling industry for decades and has dispelled aluminum tooling myths, he also highlights the benefits of using 3D printing for the right applications, especially with cost factors forcing manufacturers and major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to reconsider alternatives.

Following the news of Phoenix Proto’s acquisition, Lammon says: “Since I founded Phoenix Proto, we have been committed to helping our customers turn their design concepts into quality products by leveraging our depth of technical knowledge and best-in-class engineering solutions. Our family, along with a great employee base, have built a differentiated business over the last 15 years, and we believe RE3DTECH is a perfect fit in terms of both culture and long-term strategy.  We’re proud and excited to have CORE as a partner as we enter a new chapter of growth for Phoenix Proto.”

A new experience

CORE Operating Partner and RE3DTECH Chairman Rock Lambert adds that Phoenix Proto’s unique in-house capability drives a differentiated value proposition leading to a reputation for excellent turnaround times and flexible, consultative customer service.

“The Company’s injection molding expertise complements our additive manufacturing and CNC machining capabilities at RE3DTECH, expanding our ability to offer both prototyping as well as production volumes across technologies. We are excited to continue to broaden our service offering and cover more needs of our valued customers,” states Lambert.

News of the acquisition comes off the heels of RE3DTECH+GoProto acquiring Stanfordville Machining & Manufacturing, a Poughkeepsie, New York-based CNC shop that produces metal and polymer parts. Like Stanfordville, Phoenix Proto could also reap the benefits of having a large parent firm with a broad portfolio under its umbrella. As a result, we can expect that larger markets will open up to Phoenix Proto, adding new customers and suppliers to its local network.

Large companies like CORE are no strangers to the benefits of mergers and acquisitions (M&As). The “buy and scale” approach that CORE has taken since being founded in 2017 has led to the purchase of 18 companies and one exit, which was CORE’s portfolio business Fathom. After going public on the New York Stock Exchange back in December 2021 following a reverse merger with Altimar Acquisition Corp. II, Fathom reached a $1.5 billion valuation.

New HP 5210 Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printers at GoProto’s San Diego location. Image courtesy of GoProto.

Other reasons for buying local businesses can be traced back to startups and company valuations in general, which were brought down amid a financial market that started to drop in 2021. Furthermore, entering a market by buying a local business provides access to local supply chains and infrastructure and will help CORE’s RE3DTECH+GoProto business speed time to market.

When RE3DTECH and GoProto were rebranded as a power duo in the 3D printing industry, we had no idea CORE would announce one acquisition after another. However, this news paves the way for other local firm acquisitions in the near future. Tapping the high on-demand manufacturing industry in the US is an appealing alternative. The rather new economic model of on-demand manufacturing offers something traditional and off-the-shelf productions cannot. Notably, it eliminates the need for large stock quantities because businesses can ramp up production as and when needed.

Although not all on-demand service bureaus can withstand the headwinds of the capital market (i.e., Fast Radius), CORE’s approach to building up mega businesses is working well so far. Aside from merging RE3DTECH with GoProto, the company has acquired its share of 3D printing businesses, including Gearbox 3D, 3DXTech, Triton 3D, GPI Prototype, and Incodema, all with a capital of $700 million.

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