Looking Back at April 2023: A Comprehensive Review of the 3D Printing Industry


The 3D Printing Industry Review of the Year carries forward with the most significant news from April.

Progress surrounding the mergers and acquisitions, bringing together companies such as Stratasys, Desktop Metal, 3D Systems and Nano Dimension was constant throughout April. An unsolicited revised proposal came to the Stratasys Board from Nano Dimension, proposing the acquisition of all remaining Stratasys shares for $19.55 per share in cash. This proposal is now under review by Stratasys, who will evaluate it before providing any definitive response. Furthermore, there were discussions between Stratasys and Desktop Metal about a potential merger.

Alongside, progress was observed in sectors including research, defense, and others, with the medical sector marking significant breakthroughs.

Get in-depth insights into all the news from April 2023 pertaining to companies like Stratasys, Nano Dimension, nScrypt, Relativity Space, and others.

Mark Wynn (front left) receives the President’s Award from Mark Abshire, AMUG President. In honor of Wynn, past AMUG presidents gathered on the stage. Photo via AMUG.

M&A saga continues: A potential Stratasys-Desktop Metal merger onboard

In April 2023, Nano Dimension made several acquisition proposals to Stratasys. Last month, Stratasys received a $19.55 per share revised proposal on March 29. After careful evaluation, Stratasys announced unanimous rejection of the revised proposal on April 3. 

Following this, Nano responded with what it called at the time its “best and final” offer of $20.05 per share, which Stratasys rejected, deeming it undervalued after thorough evaluation. Stratasys raised concerns about Nano’s actions and legality, while Nano planned a special tender offer for at least 51% of Stratasys shares at $18 per share. 

The second amendment to the proposal was once more turned down by Stratasys on the 13th of April, highlighting its apprehensions about the uncertain structure and power of Nano’s board and management. At the same time, Yoav Zeif, CEO of Stratasys, and Ric Fulop, CEO of Desktop Metal, explored the possibility of a Stratasys-Desktop Metal merger.

According to the SEC (Rule 425) submitting by Stratasys, it and Desktop Metal had been in discussions since 2021, which were formally recognized by a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in November 2022. A proposal for a stock-for-stock merger with Stratasys was put forth by Desktop Metal in March 2023. By merging with Desktop Metal, Stratasys can incorporate metal AM technologies into its catalog, potentially becoming a competitor for 3D Systems, which would boost competition in the market.

Progress in Medical 3D printing

Revision within medical 3D printing has accelerated this month. For instance, the U.S saw groundbreaking spine surgeries using Evonik‘s VESTAKEEP i4 3DF PEEK filament mid-April, an FDA approved 3D printed implant from Curiteva. This was made possible by using Curiteva’s Inspire platform and a proprietary 3D printer, earning commendation from Dr. Alex Vaccaro of the Rothman Orthopedic Institute and Dr. Kevin Foley of the Semmes-Murphey Neurologic and Spine Institute for the PEEK lattice formation’s substantial progress in spinal and neurosurgical procedures.

3D printed PEEK spinal implant. Photo via Curiteva.

Additionally, University of Swansea scientists developed a 3D printed vegan nose for artificial transplants. Launched by The Scar Free Foundation, this project utilizes plant-based materials and human cells for 3D printing nose cartilage. The process, presented at the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons, aims to transform plastic surgery by providing a safer, more flexible, and personalized alternative to traditional methods.

Elsewhere, Stratasys and CollPlant partnered to enhance healthcare through large-scale bioprinting of tissues and organs. This agreement leverages CollPlant’s rh-Collagen bioinks and Stratasys’ P3 technology-based bioprinter. Centered on Stratasys’ precise P3 technology with CollPlant’s bioinks, the bioprinter targets the $2.6 billion breast augmentation and reconstruction market. Initial efforts focus on creating regenerative breast implants, enabling natural tissue regrowth without immune responses.

Advancements in research

Research initiatives were also a focus of April 2023. Amgen British Columbia researchers employed human tonsil tissue and bioprinting to model the immune system for drug development. These tissue clusters mimic immune cells, creating a platform to predict responses to new drugs. Partnering with FluidForm, they aimed to use 3D bioprinting technology to engineer immune tissue, offering better control over various immune responses during drug development, and potentially reducing clinical trial failure risk.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and KTH Royal Institute of Technology researchers published a study to understand how cooling rates impact metal properties in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) for 3D printing. The study validated the Kurz-Giovanola-Trivedi (KGT) model, enabling AM professionals to predict and control the characteristics of printed metal parts, improving consistency for large-scale manufacturing. 

Terran 1: Relativity Space’s odyssey unfolds

April 2023 saw Relativity Space achieve a significant milestone with the test flight of the world’s first 3D printed rocket, Terran 1, named “Good Luck, Have Fun” (GLHF). Composed of about 85% 3D printed materials, the rocket failed to reach orbit on its third launch attempt, crashing into the Atlantic Ocean due to an anomaly in the upper stage.

Despite this, Terran 1 achieved milestones as the first methane-fueled rocket in the Western world to reach space and the first nearly entirely 3D printed rocket to pass critical stages. Relativity Space plans to increase 3D printing to 95% for upcoming vehicles, including the Terran R for full reusability, scheduled to launch in 2024.

Strategic $4.6B USAF contract advances the defense sector

In a key advancement, Amentum has received a $4.6 billion US Air Force (USAF) contract. The contract is designed to utilize 3D scanning, additive manufacturing, and automation for Foreign Military Sales.

The Parts and Repairs Ordering System VI (PROS VI) deal, which includes a core period and five one-year optional periods, has the goal of modernizing logistics, combating obsolescence, and providing cost efficiencies to 105+ foreign partner firms. Amentum plans to deploy its SupplyTrac tool, sophisticated predictive analytics, and partnerships for 3D scanning and additive manufacturing technologies.

Mark Wynn Receives AMUG President’s Award

The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) awarded the President’s Award to Mark Wynn, Senior Technical Expert at Yazaki North America, Inc., recognizing his exceptional vision, leadership, and dedication to AMUG’s progress. As a long-time volunteer and DINO awardee, Wynn received this award during the 35th annual conference, with only eleven President’s Awards given in AMUG’s history.

“Mark Wynn’s perseverance, dedication, passion, professionalism, and selflessness were apparent in each of the AMUG roles he filled. And the result of those qualities was excellence in his work,” said Mark Abshire, AMUG President.

2023: 3D Printing Industry review of trends and news.

2022: 3D Printing Industry review of trends and news.

Read all the 3D Printing Industry coverage from Formnext 2023.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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