3D Systems steps up vertical, industry focus with purchase of Vertex

3D printing and additive manufacturing companies are betting industry-specific use cases can juice growth. 3D Systems is targeting the dental industry.

3D Systems, a 3D printer and additive manufacturing system company, said it will acquire Vertex-Global Holding in a deal that highlights how market players are increasingly targeting industries for growth.

The acquisition, outlined on January 31, gives 3D Systems a key foothold in the dental market and the Vertex and NextDent brands. 3D Systems will combine its Figure 4 platform and NextDent's 3D printing materials.

Here's how the two companies go together in a slide.

3d-systems-vertex.png

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Vertex Dental and NextDent have 12 dental 3D printing materials used in more than 70 countries. Dentists can use NextDent to manufacture trays, models, drilling templates, dentures, crowns, and bridges.

3D Systems said it will continue to support Vertex and NextDent portfolios. Executives at Vertex will continue to run the business. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but 3D Systems said the acquisition will boost earnings per share.

Also: 3D printing hands on: Making a replacement part | Stratasys takes the next step in its software strategy | How an Apple iPad combined with 3D printing can help mend broken bones | How GE is using 3D printing to unleash the biggest revolution in large-scale manufacturing in over a century

3D printing and manufacturing companies -- notably Stratasys and 3D Systems -- had a rough year in 2016 amid an economic slowdown. Canaccord Genuity analyst Bobby Burleson said the 3D Systems purchase makes sense. In a research note he said:

With the acquisition of Vertex Global Holdings, we think management is clearly committing itself to the development of end-to-end solutions for vertical markets, fleshing out its dental capabilities with proprietary materials and a robust distributor network...We view this is the right approach to driving a transition from prototyping to production use cases for additive manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Stratasys, another key 3D manufacturing player, has forged partnerships with SAP to target industries, and counts Airbus and McLaren Racing as customers.

3D printing a replacement part: