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Sweden’s Prototal Adds Metal 3D Printing with CA Models Acquisition

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Sweden-based service bureau Prototal Industries, considered among Europe’s largest polymer manufacturers, has acquired CA Models, a specialist in rapid prototyping based in Stirling, Scotland. This strategic move not only strengthens Prototal Industries’ position in the UK market but also marks a significant expansion of its capabilities, integrating metal additive manufacturing (AM) alongside its existing polymer 3D printing services.

CA Models building in Scotland. Image courtesy of Prototal Industries.

CA Models brings to Prototal Industries over four decades of experience in AM, precision CNC machining, and specialist model making. This acquisition allows Prototal Industries’ UK operations, located in Newbury, England, the chance to increase its offerings with a more complete range of services, including five-axis CNC machining, CNC turning, electrical discharge machining (EDM) wire erosion, Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) inspection to precisely measure the geometry of physical objects, 3D scanning, as well as a vast array of AM technologies and expert model making and finishing capabilities.

After announcing the completion of the acquisition on February 1, 2024, Prototal and CA Models began working to secure an effective integration of the new team. In fact, just a week ago, Prototal UK’s Managing Director Martin Nottingham said on LinkedIn that he had visited Stirling to meet his new colleagues at CA Models.

“This was an amazing opportunity to meet and talk with the wider team, tour the facility, and discuss how we, between our 11 sites within Prototal Industries, can support our customers moving forward,” remarked Nottingham. “With us now able to offer everything from intricate model making, machining, and vacuum casting to serial production using both polymer and metal additive manufacturing technologies on UK soil, I’m a firm believer that the combined offering of Prototal UK and CA Models Limited is much stronger than just the sum of its parts.”

CA Models in Scotland. Image courtesy of Martin Nottingham/Prototal UK.

According to Nottingham, the UK is familiar with what CA Models is capable of, as producers of some of the “finest 3D printed parts around” and are experts in their field. He described the latest acquisition as an outstanding family-run business with an impressive history and reputation to match.

“We are strategically positioned to deliver production volume AM solutions to a broad range of customers spanning a wide spectrum of industries.”

The teams from Prototal and CA Models meet in Scotland. Image courtesy of Martin Nottingham/Prototal UK.

With the acquisition of CA Models, Prototal will now have the capability to collectively offer stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), multi jet fusion (MJF) and machining on UK soil. For example, CA Models has two SLM 500 high-volume metal 3D printers from Nikon SLM Solutions, an EOS P-730, and an iPro 8000 SLA printer from 3D Systems. So the goal is for the collective team to have an expanded market presence in the UK, enabling Prototal UK to reach a wider audience and serve customers more effectively and efficiently.

Prototal Industries CEO Jan Löfving said this deal marks another important milestone in the growth of the company’s international operations and further expands what it can offer to its customers.

“We now enter the metals AM market in the United Kingdom and are excited to see what the combined efforts of CA Models Limited and Prototal UK will achieve here. As a combined entity, we are now operational in 11 sites across Europe and continue to realize our vision as the largest enabler of serial production using additive manufacturing technologies throughout this continent,” expressed Löfving.

Meanwhile, CA Models Operations Director Gregory Cambell has faith that the company’s strong experience in metal AM and precision CNC machining will be a valuable asset to Prototal’s customers, giving them an even wider range of component manufacturing solutions.

Gregory Cambell, Operations Director of CA Models. Image courtesy of Prototal Industries.

This is not the first time Prototal Industries has acquired other businesses to expand its reach and capabilities. In November 2021, it took over Prosilas, an Italian 3D printing service provider. This acquisition marked Prototal’s second venture outside the Nordic region, following the acquisition of 3T Additive Manufacturing’s large polymer AM service business in the UK. Earlier, in 2020, Prototal made strategic moves to enhance its capabilities and market presence by acquiring Swedish injection molder Tojos Plast for an undisclosed sum, marking the second corporate takeover carried out that year after buying Damvig.

Prototal Industries now operates across ten units, including Prototal Damvig in Denmark, five sites in Sweden, Prototal AS in Norway, Prototal UK, Prosilas in Italy, and another site in Austria. In addition to the Taastrup site in Denmark, the company has a manufacturing presence in Levanger, Norway, and four locations in Sweden—Götene, Jönköping, Malmö, and Ystad. With a workforce of 175 employees, 100 of whom are employed at its main site in Jönköping, Prototal is becoming an important player in the European industry. The company’s annual turnover stands at around SEK 360 million (roughly €32 million), highlighting its significant impact and contribution to the additive manufacturing sector in the continent.

With the addition of CA Models, Prototal is set to improve its service offering, bridging the gap between polymer and metal AM capabilities and solidifying its position as a key player in the UK’s 3D printing industry.

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