SLS pioneer 3D Systems acquires low-cost SLS company Wematter
Looking to make SLS technology available to a broader range of customers
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), the first company to market a hardware system based on SLS technology back in the 1990s, has entered into an agreement to acquire Wematter, a Swedish 3D printer manufacturer, that will broaden 3D Systems’ Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) portfolio. Wematter designed and introduced the Wematter Gravity in 2019 which brought an affordable, turnkey SLS solution to the market. The closed-loop system is designed to operate in a smaller-footprint environment outside of a manufacturing floor, such as an office.
Since that time, Wematter has expanded to three models — Gravity Essential, Gravity Essential+, and Gravity Enterprise — to facilitate the adoption of SLS for a wider range of user environments. As a result of this acquisition, 3D Systems will be able to make SLS available to a broader range of customers with a high-reliability, affordable solution for the production of end-use parts.
The synergic collaboration between the two companies began in December 2022, when 3D Systems became the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Gravity systems – helping Wematter expand its total market.
“We continue to invest in our solution portfolio through strategic acquisitions that add unique technologies to enable rapid adoption of additive manufacturing in production environments,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO, 3D Systems. “Wematter has designed an SLS solution that is unmatched in the industry that allows the technology to be used in environments where it would previously have been deemed impossible. Since the announcement last fall that 3D Systems would become the exclusive global distributor of Wematter’s products, it became increasingly apparent to us how beneficial it would be to have this team and technology as part of our company. Through the acquisition of Wematter, we’ll benefit from their team’s unique engineering approach and expertise as part of our R&D organization, and our customers will benefit from the capabilities of this user-friendly, elegant platform at a more affordable price point. I believe this will enable a new category of manufacturers to take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing to transform their businesses and accelerate innovation.”
The Wematter Gravity is a closed-loop system designed to operate in a smaller-footprint environment outside of a manufacturing floor, making additive manufacturing more accessible. It was designed to make additive manufacturing accessible in smaller environments. The small footprint (0.7 m x 0.7 m x 1.5 m) requires 3X less space, yet has a build volume that is more than 300% larger (300mm x 300mm x 300mm) than comparable solutions, and can complete an entire job in 24 hours or less. The Gravity is CE-certified for use in offices, hospitals, and research laboratories to manufacturing production parts for a breadth of applications including automotive, consumer goods, and medical devices and equipment.
The Gravity only requires a standard power source and an ethernet connection which enables plug-and-play installation and can be operational in less than an hour from delivery. This is facilitated by the simple interface which guides the user through the set-up and print process. Wematter supports a portfolio of 20 materials to address a breadth of applications. The unique powder handling system maintains a closed loop, ensuring there is no loose powder. Additionally, the system facilitates the recycling of unused powder for multiple cycles which enables manufacturers to fully use the material and eliminate waste. Because Gravity is connected to the Cloud, users can start and monitor print jobs remotely which helps increase productivity and lowers the demand for resources. The cloud-based connection also facilitates proactive and preventative maintenance to maximize uptime and productivity.
Robert Kniola, president of Wematter added, “We’re looking forward to becoming part of 3D Systems and benefitting from the company’s reputation as a leader in innovation and being able to expand the availability of our Gravity SLS solution to customers worldwide through their global sales network. Our unique SLS solution is designed to accelerate product development and in-house volume production with a click of a button. We are excited about the opportunities to bring SLS technology to a new class of customers for 3D Systems, and the potential it will unlock to improve efficiency in the delivery of high-quality end-use parts.”