Hefty metal investment for 3D Systems

3D Systems has ramped up its investment in metal printing, acquiring Belgian direct metal 3D printing and manufacturing provider LayerWise, in a bid to boost its aerospace, automotive, and medical offering.

3D Systems is hoping to ramp up its additive manufacturing offering to the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries, with the announcement today it has acquired Belgium-based direct metal 3D printing provider, LayerWise.

"The addition of LayerWise, with its award-winning direct metal printing technology, automated manufacturing processes at convincing scale and leading medical devices services, extends our first mover advantage in these high-growth areas substantially, to the immediate benefit of our aerospace, automotive and medical device customers," said 3D Systems president and CEO Avi Reichental.

LayerWise specialises in quick-turn 3D-printed metal parts. Since 2008, it has manufactured its own proprietary line of powder-to-solid direct metal 3D printers.

3D Systems said that LayerWise's direct metal printers deliver part density of up to 99.98 percent, closely matching conventional metal mechanical properties — a factor which has seen the company win customers in the aerospace, high-precision equipment, medical, and dental industry sectors.

Under the deal, LayerWise will operate under the continued leadership of co-founders Jonas Van Vaerenbergh and Peter Mercelis, who will pursue new projects in its high-end target markets, leveraging 3D Systems' resources and global footprint.

"We are delighted to integrate our proprietary direct metal technology and processes into 3D Systems' leading portfolio of products and services," said Van Vaerenbergh. "With its culture of continuous innovation dating back to its founder Chuck Hull, the inventor of the first 3D printing technology, and its commitment to advancing direct metal 3D technology and medical device services, 3DS is the perfect fit for our company and strengthens our combined growth potential."

The LayerWise acquisition is the latest in an ever-increasing tally of purchases the publicly-listed 3D Systems has undertaken in bid to gain and bolster international additive manufacturing marketshare.

Last month, the company completed its US$120 million acquisition of Simbionix, a 3D virtual reality surgical simulation and training provider.

On August 14, 3D Systems announced the dual acquisition of sister companies, sister rapid prototyping companies, American Precision Prototyping (APP) and American Precision Machining (APM).

While 3D Systems has not disclosed the value of the acquisition, the company said it expects the deal to be immediately accretive, adding to earnings per share.