Desktop SLS Pioneer Sintratec Announces Bankruptcy

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Swiss original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Sintratec, which specialized in low-cost selective laser sintering (SLS) machines, announced that the company has undergone bankruptcy proceedings and will be ceasing operations. A spin-out of distinguished Swiss research institute ETH Zurich, Sintratec launched in 2014 on the back of a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Although there have been a number of significant additive manufacturing (AM) industry bankruptcies in recent years, the Sintratec bankruptcy in particular may come as quite a surprise, as the company announced just a few months ago that it had a record performance in 2023, with a net sales increase of over 60 percent. On the other hand, even if low-cost SLS systems remain rare in the industry, Sintratec’s business model still faced some stiff competition, including the emergence just last month of a startup, Micronics, selling an SLS machine for about three grand.

In its announcement of the company’s bankruptcy, Sintratec noted that it has secured deals whereby two of its resellers, 3DChimera and KREOS, will continue to provide after-sale services to Sintratec customers. This angle, among other enticing aspects to the Sintratec ecosystem, could make the company’s former assets especially attractive to industry bargain hunters.

In a press release about Sintratec’s bankruptcy proceedings and ceasing of operations, the company’s CEO, Dominik Solenicki, said, “The decision to shut down the company comes with a very heavy heart and is painful to accept in light of our recent successes. Despite these we were unable to financially sustain the business. The bankruptcy is a reflection of current industry and capital market realities. I am profoundly grateful for all the connections we have made over the years and the incredible people who helped make Sintratec a reality. Your support and collaboration have been the cornerstone of our journey.”

The CEO of 3DChimera, Alex Hussain, said, “Sintratec has been a pivotal player in the 3D printing industry, and we are honored to have been their trusted partner for the American market. Over the years, we have admired the leadership of Dominik and Christian — they have been visionaries in the field, and their passion and innovation have left a mark on the industry. 3DChimera is ready to ensure that all customers, those in the US and beyond, continue to have access to after-sales services.”

Metal part printed on adapted Sintratec machine

Another major selling point that could pique the market’s interest in Sintratec’s assets is the company’s participation in the ColdMetalFusion (CMF) Alliance, a consortium of AM companies organized around a process enabling polymer SLS printers to be adapted to print metal. Given the fact that Nexa3D has partnered with Headmade Materials — the company at the heart of CMF Alliance — for the same purpose, along with its similar market niche and experience making acquisitions, Sintratec might look rather attractive to Nexa3D.

Another possibility is that CMF Alliance simply absorbs Sintratec’s former assets. It’s not clear if CMF Alliance is in the business of making such moves, but it stands to reason that an organization comprised of around a dozen companies would have an especially easy time footing the bill. With all that in mind, despite the bankruptcy, it’s highly likely we haven’t seen the last of Sintratec’s technology.

Images courtesy of Sintratec

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