JPB Système Invests in Addimetal to Combine Forces for French Metal Binder Jetting Market

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JPB Système, a French aerospace supplier specializing in the use of fully automated production lines for advanced small parts, has acquired a stake in Addimetal, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of metal binder jetting (MBJ) platforms, also based in France. JPB has increasingly explored the use of MBJ platforms over the last few years, with the company reporting in 2022 that it was able to reduce lead times on mold output by 80 percent, while also lightweighting the same parts by 30 percent.

Addimetal was founded in 2021 and, according to JPB, the startup is France’s only manufacturer of MBJ platforms. In spite of that, the technology seems especially promising for the French market, specifically, given the early popularity of MBJ in the aerospace sector, in combination with the strong global presence of French aerospace and defense contractors.

JPB’s Easy Locking System (ELS), just as an example of the sort of thing the company produces.

In a press release about JPB’s investment in Addimetal, Damien Marc, the CEO of JPB, said, “Our interest in MBJ spans several years and it remains state-of-the-art 3D printing technology that is still only provided by a small handful of players. Acquiring a stake in Addimetal underscores our commitment to support the development of open 3D printing platforms that ensure a wider and more unconstrained solutions offering when it comes to the manufacture of small, complex, yet lightweight parts in small volumes. …[A]s a leading France-based global business, to partner with an equally pioneering homegrown player with significant growth potential on an international level, is hugely significant.”

The head of JPB is correct that the most notable element of this investment is that it is entirely local to France. This matters because it shows that the relocalization of supply chains is not just happening in the handful of largest markets, at the expense of everyone else.

While it is true that France still has one of the largest aerospace sectors in the world, it will likely slip farther down the list of world’s top aerospace exporters over the next decade, so French companies would seem to have two options when it comes to long-term game plans. They can cling closer to a multinational giant from the US, China, etc., or they can consolidate with other French companies. (Really, three options, since some combination of the two is probably the likeliest scenario of all.)

JPB’s acquisition of a minority stake in Addimetal clearly serves as a test case for the second option, and it seems symbolic in that sense that this announcement was made right as this year’s Paris Air Show is starting. Relatedly, on the sidelines of this same event, Emmanuel Macron just chided other members of the EU for relying too much on imports from the US when it comes to air defense.

Who knows what self-motivated reasons are behind the fact that the world’s powerful are all getting on the same page about the stakes involved in reorganizing global supply chains. Whatever those reasons may be, however, it is still true that the localization of supply chains will be a necessary precursor to any remotely successful return to stability for the global economy. In other words, it is not necessarily a bad idea just because Emmanuel Macron is supporting it.

Moreover, it makes particular sense for a company like JPB, which is focused on producing smaller parts, to be integral to a localization effort. These are the parts that the US defense industrial base has become most deficient in producing, so if JPB can help build up Addimetal successfully, it would be a huge boon to both companies, as well as to the French economy. And, finally, it would of course even be beneficial to the US, as well, since France is one of the US’s most important allies.

Images courtesy of JPB Système

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