In more exciting business news from the additive manufacturing market, leading carbon fiber and metal 3D printer manufacturer Markforged has announced that it has entered a definitive agreement with Höganäs AB to acquire Digital Metal. This move will allow the manufacturer, which up until now has focused on extrusion processes, to move into the binder jetting market. Specifically, they are aiming at metal binder jetting as a way to allow for mass production of end-use metal parts.
Over the past year or so, we have seen significant movements not just between companies due to mergers and acquisitions, but also in terms of expanding technology offerings. For example, 3D Systems recently re-entered the FDM market through two new acquisitions among other examples. Moreover, Markforged’s aim to enter the binder jetting market is particularly significant. After Desktop Metal’s acquisition of ExOne last year, the company has had virtually no American competition in the binder jetting sector. The entry of Markforged could shake up the market in the long term.
What to Expect From the Deal Between Digital Metal and Markforged
The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary conditions. In the deal, Markforged has agreed to pay Höganäs (of which Digital Metal is a wholly-owned subsidiary) “approximately $32 million in cash, approximately 4.1 million shares of Markforged common stock and approximately $1.5 million in cash to settle certain intercompany balances” according to a press release from Markforged. Through the deal, Markforged will gain access to Digital Metal’s proprietary binder jetting technology which they claim is known for its high productivity, excellent surface quality and superior resolution. Ultimately, Markforged hopes that through this, they will be able to extend capabilities into the production of high volumes of functional metal parts, something that was not necessarily possible with their extrusion technologies.
Apparently, the company also chose to move into powder binder jetting as they see it as a highly scalable AM technology for production grade parts made with a variety of metal materials. This is because thanks to the nature of binder jetting, wherein the particles are first bound together with a binder, there is more flexibility when it comes to choice of material when compared to laser powder bed fusion solutions. For Markforged, the integration of Digital Metal’s powder jetting technology is expected to complement the existing Digital Forge offering as well as help expand its addressable market, essentially enabling them to open up to new customers. Meanwhile, Digital Metal hopes to expand adoption of their solutions thanks to Markforged’s integrated software capabilities and a global go-to-market engine.
Shai Terem, president and CEO of Markforged concludes, “With the Digital Metal acquisition, Markforged is advancing our vision for distributed manufacturing by enabling the reliable, high volume production of precise metal parts at the point of need. Infusing Digital Metal’s solution into The Digital Forge platform allows us to address new applications in the medical, automotive, luxury goods and other industries. The Digital Metal team has created a robust and scalable solution that complements our existing technologies. I look forward to welcoming their talented people to Markforged.” You can learn more in the press release HERE.
*Cover Photo Credits: Digital Metal