The Schaeffler Group takes the helm once again as they acquire Aerosint.


Aerosint, the Belgian startup known for its unique 3D printing process called “Selective Powder Deposition” (SPD), has been acquired once again. Initially formed in 2016, Aerosint developed a method that allows the use of multiple materials within a single 3D print job, setting it apart from other powder-based systems. Rather than spreading a new layer of mono-powder with a large blade, Aerosint’s process enables the deposition of different powders in specific positions on the print surface. This innovation opens up endless possibilities and simplifies production as objects can be printed in powder with multiple materials, eliminating the need for assembling parts made with different materials.

Aerosint was a startup with limited resources, focusing primarily on developing the SPD technology rather than manufacturing 3D printers. Their plan was to integrate their unique technology into other devices. In 2021, Desktop Metal, a company actively acquiring other 3D printing companies and their processes, including EnvisionTEC and ExOne, acquired Aerosint. This move made sense as it expanded Desktop Metal’s technology profile.

Now, there’s news that Desktop Metal has sold Aerosint to the Schaeffler Group, a prominent German company founded in 1946 known for producing automotive and industrial products, particularly bearings. With this acquisition, Schaeffler gains access to Aerosint’s powerful 3D printing process. Aerosint highlighted in a LinkedIn post that joining Schaeffler will provide them with indirect access to an extensive network of over 85,000 global resources, which will undoubtedly propel their technological advancements to new heights. They also mentioned that teaming up with Schaeffler will open up a wide range of new applications, further showcasing the potential of multi-material additive manufacturing.

Schaeffler sees additive manufacturing as a simpler alternative to conventional manufacturing processes, especially when it comes to producing components with complex geometries. They believe it is a key enabler of Industry 4.0 and offers sustainability benefits such as reduced material consumption, greater energy efficiency in production, and environmentally friendly material options. As part of the acquisition, Aerosint will be renamed “Schaeffler Aerosint SA” and integrated into the Schaeffler Group as an additional location for Schaeffler Special Machinery. This suggests that Schaeffler’s usage of additive manufacturing will expand in the future, potentially incorporating an enhanced version of SPD from Aerosint.

The decision to sell Aerosint raises questions about Desktop Metal’s strategy, especially as it comes around the same time as the proposed merge with Stratasys. Could this move be part of Desktop Metal’s post-Stratasys plan? While the terms of the deal remain undisclosed, it is evident that Desktop Metal stands to gain significant financial benefits. Nonetheless, they are not completely stepping away from the technology. Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop noted that partnering with Schaeffler, an international company with advanced technology expertise and a clear roadmap for commercializing the SPD technology with laser-based systems, brings potential collaboration opportunities in exploring further uses of the technology in Desktop Metal binder jetting systems.

It seems that Desktop Metal’s partnership with Schaeffler will yield benefits beyond the immediate financial gain. The acquisition of Aerosint by Schaeffler represents a step towards a more extensive utilization of additive manufacturing in the future, potentially with the integration of Aerosint’s SPD technology.

Original source


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