Just as RAPID + TCT was for the North American market, Formnext 2023 seem to have been a success for Chinese laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) companies in the European market. Not only did these firms showcase large, many-laser machines at the event, but they also signed some new customers. While EPlus3D announced partnerships in Germany and Austria, Bright Laser Technologies (“BLT,” 688333.SH) has signed a deal with Extreme Manufacturing Engineering (EME) for the purchase of BLT-S800 and BLT-S450 at Formnext.
EME is an Italian additive manufacturing (AM) solutions provider established in 2023. For that reason, there isn’t all that much information publicly available about the company. While BLT unveiled a 20-laser option for the machine, the BLT-S800 acquired by EME is equipped with eight 500W lasers and features a build size of 800mm × 800mm × 600mm, ideal for large-scale and serial production. In contrast, the BLT-S450, with its six lasers, caters to the manufacturing of smaller components with a build volume of 450mm × 450mm × 500mm.
“We have increasing demand for additively manufactured parts in Europe, especially in automotive, consumer electronics, medical devices, and other applications, such as structural parts for amusement rides,” explained Eddi Tomat, CEO of EME. “Given their rich history and leadership in additive manufacturing, BLT is the ideal partner for us. Additionally, the BLT team has consistently demonstrated professionalism and attentiveness in addressing our needs and inquiries and we anticipate fostering even closer collaboration with BLT.”
“BLT has taken the lead in introducing the large-format printing system in the industry, with extensive experience in the development of large-sized, multi-laser printing solutions. These two systems have undergone years of market validation. We hope to lower the threshold of adopting this technology and bring metal 3D printing to millions of factories by adhering to the principle of ‘make it possible, make it affordable.’ We are happy that BLT and EME reached the consensus,” explained Dr Xue Lei, CEO of BLT.
BLT is a particularly intriguing company in the Chinese LPBF market. Founded in 2011, it was the first to list on China’s Science and Technology Innovation Board in 2019. As detailed in a recent article by 3DPrint.com analyst Sangmin “Simon” Lee, BLT has secured a top position in domestic market share and shipment volume. Unlike most of the other metal LPBF manufacturers in the country, BLT offers end-to-end metal AM solutions, including equipment, printing services, and software.
With over 1,300 employees, BLT’s growth is demonstrated by the installation of its 1,000th metal LPBF machine globally. The company reported a 58.53% sales increase in H1 2023 over the previous year. With a market cap of $2.51 billion, BLT has outpaced the largest US 3D printing firms and reversed its previous net loss into a $2.44 million profit for H1 2023.
Defying the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s 4% drop, BLT’s shares surged by 20%, bolstered by rumors of its involvement in Apple’s next Apple Watch Ultra. In addition to the possibility of Apple, the company’s client roster includes major aerospace corporations such as Airbus, with whom BLT has partnered for 3D printing large precision parts.
For all intents and purposes, then, BLT is one to beat in the LPBF market both in China and the world. We’ll see how the next year shakes out, but it looks as though European and U.S. makers of LPBF metal 3D printers will have to keep their eyes out for competition from Asia, not only in China but in India as well.
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