Acquisitions & Partnerships

Prodways acquires wax 3D printer manufacturer SolidScape from Stratasys (in cash)

Prodways Group has acquired the US 3D printing maker Solidscape Inc., a subsidiary of Stratasys. The moves further marks French 3D printer manufacturer Prodways as a leading player in industrial 3D printing. The company has been posting the highest revenue growth rates among the major publicly listed industry players. Although it has not enjoyed a very high visibility, SolidScape has been a major player in 3D printing for over two decades as its wax 3D printing technology is a jewelry industry favorite.

Prodways, that was created five years ago, now has 400 employees. The company offers its customers 3D printing systems (machines, materials, and software) as well as 3D printed parts. The Group develops several lines of 3D printers based on different technologies: stereolithography, with its MOVINGLight series for 3D printing with resins and ceramics; laser sintering for plastics; Rapid Additive Forging (wire-arc) for the 3D printing of large metal parts.

The machines designed by Prodways based on these three technologies are used primarily in a manufacturing setting, most often as a substitute for conventional production methods. Solidscape is an established player in the 3D printing industry. Since it was founded in 1994, the company has been developing a leading 3D printing technology for investment casting applications, particularly for the jewelry market. SolidScape refers to its technology by the acronym SCP (Smooth Curvature Printing).

Drawing on its patent portfolio, Solidscape offers machines and materials that enable users to print wax models of unrivaled quality and precision to be used in casting processes. Since its inception, Solidscape has sold more than 5,000 machines that are used in manufacturing, mainly in the jewelry and investment casting sectors. These sales are spread over Europe, America and the rest of the world through a large distribution network. Solidscape was acquired by Stratasys in 2011.

The acquisition of Solidscape dovetails with Prodways Group’s overall strategy and is a unique opportunity to bolster its machine sales business and expand its portfolio of technologies,” Raphaël Gorgé.

The MOVINGLight technology, which is already available to the jewelry market, the burnout resins developed by Prodways Materials, and Solidscape’s proprietary technologies are perfectly complementary to the Group’s business and will gprovide a comprehensive, global and unmatched offer on the investment casting market, from mass manufacturing to high-precision manufacturing. This new offer is expected to spur Solidscape’s business growth.

Solidscape

Why is Prodways buying

This acquisition, paid for entirely in cash, solidifies the positioning of Prodways Group, which bases its strategy on 3D printing manufacturing applications. These markets are experiencing the gradual supplanting of traditional manufacturing techniques by 3D printing processes. The investment casting application, particularly for jewelry, is an indicative example. The added value offered by the technology enables the sale not only of machines but also of materials and supplies. This recurrence model is a feature of the 3D printing technologies using plastic, resins and waxes developed by Prodways.

Consolidated over 12 months, Solidscape should generate revenue greater than $10 million in 2019, of which nearly 50%  from sales of materials and supplies. The expected synergies, and particularly the marketing of small MOVINGLight machines through the Solidscape network, should help the new subsidiary post a double-digit EBITDA by 2020. The brand name, management, and 66-person staff based in Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States, will be retained. This transaction will substantially expand Prodways Group’s presence in North America and increase its global geographic coverage through an international distribution network.

“The acquisition of Solidscape dovetails with Prodways Group’s overall strategy and is a unique opportunity to bolster its machine sales business and expand its portfolio of technologies while gaining excellent geographic coverage and teams renowned for their expertise in additive manufacturing,” said Raphaël Gorgé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Prodways Group.

Why is Stratasys selling

Stratasys reported that it has chosen to sell SolidScape as it focuses on more vertical markets and applications such as automotive, aerospace, medical and dental businesses. While it is undeniable that this approach is enabling the company to turn around after a challenging period, SolidScape has never enjoyed a very high visibility during its time as part of Stratasys, as the company industry-focused company has struggled to adequately target the jewelry and accessory design segment where SolidScape’s SCP technology has its ideal area of application. In recent years, as other 3D printer manufacturers were churning out innovations and presenting larger and faster hardware, SolidScape only presented one new system the S500.

“Since 2011, Stratasys proudly promoted Solidscape and its proprietary technology as part of its product portfolio. As Stratasys moves strategically to more focus on specific vertical markets, we believe that this acquisition is beneficial for all parties and we wish Prodways the best of luck in accelerating the growth of Solidscape and maintaining its position as a market leader in its core markets” said Rich Garrity, President of Stratasys Americas.

Becoming a part of the Prodways Group could breathe new life into SolidScape top of the line wax 3D printing offer and be beneficial to all companies involved in the transaction.

 

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He is a senior analyst for US-based firm SmarTech Publishing focusing on the additive manufacturing industry. He founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which specializes in marketing, editorial and market analysys&consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as several editorial websites, including 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore.

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