Stratasys, a global leader in polymers, is acquiring Desktop Metal, a prominent player in the growing metals additive manufacturing sector. But there’s more to this deal than meets the eye. While Stratasys aims to strengthen its position in metals, it’s also gaining access to other valuable technologies from Desktop Metal, including sand casting, ceramics, Free Foam, and even a wood 3D printer called Forust.
Desktop Metal has been working on some fascinating 3D printing research and development projects, although their success in bringing them to the mass market has been mixed. By joining forces with Stratasys, there’s potential for greater success and the opportunity to explore new avenues in additive manufacturing.
This transaction brings together a wealth of intellectual property, with over 3,400 patents and pending patent applications resulting from a combined investment of $500 million over the past four years. As part of the deal, 800 scientists and engineers from both companies will collaborate.
An even more extensive portfolio for Stratasys
For Stratasys, this acquisition creates an unrivalled portfolio in the additive manufacturing sector. While other companies are downsizing and focusing on specific user-focused solutions, Stratasys emerges as the comprehensive brand for additive manufacturing.
This move also signifies another step for Stratasys in its role in the mass manufacturing of end-use parts. Dr Yoav Zeif, CEO of Stratasys, emphasized the growth potential: “The combination with Desktop Metal will accelerate our growth trajectory by uniting two leaders to create a premier global provider of industrial additive manufacturing solutions.”
However, scalability is a factor to consider. Stratasys has successfully applied its industrial patents from the Ultimaker family to desktop 3D printers, making them more accessible. This experience could potentially lead to the scaling down of some systems, making them suitable for research labs and design studios. While Desktop Metal hasn’t focused on this area (their ‘Shop’ systems are still quite large), the collaboration opens up possibilities for sharing R&D, patented technologies, and expertise.
Shortly, the focus will be on integrating Desktop Metal’s products into Stratasys’ extensive global reseller network. The deal predicts a combined revenue of $1.1 billion by 2025. It’s a bold move, and it will be fascinating to see how this shapes the future of Stratasys, a company that has been the subject of various acquisition stories in recent years.