Nikon SLM Solutions Debuts with GKN Aerospace Deal and Corporate Rebranding

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In a significant corporate development, Nikon SLM Solutions has officially replaced what was once known as SLM Solutions. The rebranded company has marked its new chapter with a high-profile sale of two NXG XII 600 Additive Manufacturing Systems to leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier GKN Aerospace. The dual announcements signal a robust future for the company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon (TYO: 7731).

Nikon made a significant move into the additive manufacturing (AM) space with the acquisition of SLM Solutions for €622 million (roughly $675 million) in January 2023, initially announced in September 2022. The acquisition adds SLM Solutions to Nikon’s growing manufacturing ecosystem, which also features metal 3D printing firm Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Global and Morf3D, a specialist in AM and engineering for aerospace, space, and defense sectors. This strategic purchase emphasizes Nikon’s ongoing commitment to expanding its capabilities in the technology.

Earlier this month, on September 1, 2023, Nikon SLM Solutions received confirmation that it would officially replace SLM Solutions. Nikon, the main shareholder, initiated this change by transferring the minority shareholders’ shares to itself. This action not only gave the company its new identity but also automatically delisted its shares from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE), streamlining the company’s structure and operations in one move.

Sam O’Leary, the CEO of the newly formed Nikon SLM Solutions, expressed enthusiasm about the merger and subsequent name change. “We are pleased with the conclusion of the squeeze-out procedure, which will further help to save considerable listing costs and support the team in doing what they do best – pushing the boundaries of manufacturing. Our new name, Nikon SLM Solutions AG, enables us to benefit from the global brand presence of a technology powerhouse such as Nikon while also retaining our own rich legacy in the industry.”

Capitalizing on this fresh start with Nikon, the company has already made a big sale that shows it’s forming strong business relationships. The finalized sale of two NXG XII 600 Additive Manufacturing Systems to GKN Aerospace showcases the growing demand for advanced manufacturing systems in the aerospace sector. The deal is expected to fortify the company’s position as a leading player in the AM space.

The Cell 3 DED 3D printer from GKN Aerospace.

The NXG XII 600 machines offer an extensive printing area and come equipped with 12 lasers. These features align perfectly with GKN Aerospace’s plans for large-scale, highly productive manufacturing. One machine will use nickel-chromium alloy Inconel 718 (In718) material and another for titanium grade five alloy Ti64.

“Partnering with Nikon SLM Solutions is a key milestone in our journey to create better, more sustainable aerospace products,” said Martin Thordén, vice president (VP) of Permanova, GKN Aerospace’s newly formed unit for material solutions. “This collaboration provides us access to the cutting-edge additive manufacturing capabilities we need to reach our net zero goals.”

GKN Aerospace is no newcomer to innovation. With its main headquarters in the UK, GKN Aerospace has 38 manufacturing facilities in 12 countries and supplies over 90% of global aircraft and engine manufacturers. For over two decades, it has been at the forefront of AM, having been involved in developing and producing various aerospace components using this technology. From engine pieces like turbine blades and fuel injectors to structural elements like brackets, the company focuses on making lighter yet stronger parts.

Nikon SLM Solutions CEO Sam O’Leary with Nikon CEO Toshikazu Umatate and Nikon VPs Hamid Zarringhalam and Yuichi Shibazaki at the company’s German HQ. Image courtesy of Sam O’Leary via LinkedIn.

O’Leary believes the companies’ combined strengths will “undoubtedly set new industry benchmarks.” The CEO recently welcomed Nikon CEO Toshikazu Umatate along with Nikon VP and now Chairman of the Nikon SLM Solutions Supervisory Board Hamid Zarringhalam and Nikon General Manager of Advanced Manufacturing Yuichi Shibazaki to SLM’s headquarters in Lübeck.

“The future of manufacturing won’t just change forever, it will transform faster and in more exciting ways than was ever thought possible. It’s really a marriage of two companies that fundamentally share the same DNA and will together deliver incredible things for our customers and the broader industry,” concluded O’Leary.

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