Lincoln Electric Signals Acceleration of Distributed Large Format 3D Printing with RedViking Acquisition

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Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ: LECO), the Cleveland-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of arc welding systems, has acquired RedViking, a systems integrator for automation solutions based in Plymouth, Michigan. Terms of Lincoln Electric’s acquisition of the privately-held company were undisclosed.

Through its Lincoln Electric Additive Solutions division, the global welding giant claims to have North America’s greatest metal 3D printing capacity. In recent years, the company has deployed its wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) ecosystem to deliver critical just-in-time (JIT) components to strategic sectors such as oil & gas and defense.

RedViking, meanwhile, currently does about $70 million in revenue annually, selling a wide range of products and services that enable industrial enterprise automation. Perhaps most relevantly in the context of the Lincoln Electric acquisition, RedViking notes on its website that the company “redesigned a jet engine manufacturer’s assembly line to produce 8x more engines” compared to the customer’s prior output levels.

The largest 3D printed civil works component in North America, produced by Lincoln Electric. Image courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers

In a press release about Lincoln Electric’s acquisition of RedViking, Steven B. Hedlund, the President and CEO of Lincoln Electric, said, “We are excited to welcome the RedViking team to Lincoln Electric. The acquisition expands our portfolio of automation solutions and extends our ability to serve customers in the growing aerospace and defense industries.”

Image courtesy of RedViking

According to Lincoln Electric, it operates “71 manufacturing and automation system integration locations across 21 countries”, meaning RedViking’s potential to reach a wider customer base has just seen an immediate, significant expansion.

The global need for AM-backed distributed manufacturing is accelerating everyday, and this is the case especially in those industries Lincoln Electric is poised to impact. Back in January, for instance, I described how supply chain disruptions created by Houthi attacks on Western maritime traffic — and the Western response to those attacks — would invite opportunities for increased leveraging of distributed 3D printing.

These tensions have only heightened since, and the Red Sea is of course far from the only region facing the same set of issues. In this macroeconomic context, then, beyond Lincoln Electric and RedViking, the acquisition should be exciting for everyone in the AM industry, and above all for companies in the large format metal space.

Many companies and organizations have contributed to the scale-up of the underlying technological capabilities that have gotten the industry to this point. Validation from a brand like Lincoln Electric for a concept as innovative as large format, distributed metal AM is the sort of thing required to enable a viable concept to become a widespread commercial reality.

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