3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), one of the leaders of the global AM market, has entered an agreement to acquire dp polar GmbH, a German-based designer and manufacturer of an additive manufacturing system designed for high-speed mass production of customized components. Central to dp polar’s patented continuous printing process is a large-scale, segmented, rotating print platform that eliminates the start/stop operations of virtually all additive manufacturing platforms.
Traditional printers operate on a Cartesian Coordinate system in which the print head moves sequentially from point to point throughout component production. With dp polar’s technology and patented polar coordinate control, the print heads remain stationary above the rotating platform, providing a continuous print process. This approach not only dramatically speeds component production but also minimizes wear and vibration associated with traditional print head motion.
With this modular approach, the rotating platform can be mated with a variety of printing technologies and can even accommodate pick-and-place robotic systems that can embed electronics or other features into the body of the component as it is printed. With this acquisition, 3D Systems will leverage its industry-leading polymer materials portfolio as well as Oqton’s software technology to bring true high-speed, mass production additive manufacturing to a breadth of industries including aerospace, automotive, foundries, consumer goods, and healthcare.
“This acquisition is the next step in executing on our investment strategy to provide our customers with an industry-leading additive manufacturing solutions portfolio to address their critical applications challenges,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO, 3D Systems. “dp polar has designed a very unique system that provides true high-volume production. The ability to print a broad range of materials, alongside the printer’s modular design that enables multiple processes in one high-speed platform not only increases productivity by orders of magnitude but also reduces the total cost of ownership. Particularly impressive is the level of machine intelligence embedded in the platform’s operating system, which enables continuous operation across the large, rotating print platform. This unique capability is central to the exceptional throughput, economics, and versatility of dp polar’s 3D printing system. By combining our renowned polymer materials portfolio with this first-to-market high-speed production technology, I believe we’ll affect a monumental shift in production workflows for high-value applications in industrial and healthcare markets.”
The printing process designed by dp polar allows for simultaneous application of different materials to precisely define the desired performance properties in components – such as elasticity, hardness, temperature resistance, or coloring – with high precision. The high-speed additive manufacturing solution can integrate pre-processing, production, and post-processing elements, and seamlessly connects with ERP systems. This enables end-to-end traceability and quality assurance which is vital for applications in highly regulated markets such as aerospace and healthcare.
“As the founder of dp polar GmbH, I am very excited about the unique opportunity to work with a leading provider of highly professional 3D printing systems,” said Hans Mathea, CEO, CTO and founder, dp polar GmbH. “The synergy that results from the combination of our two companies is particularly valuable: the mass production solutions meet a range of industrially mature AM materials. With additive manufacturing, the industry is now getting the chance for real mass production for the first time.”
3D Systems expects this transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.