GE to Buy Two Additive Manufacturing Firms for $1.4B

According to GE the new nozzles are 25 per cent lighter but five times more durable than conventional designs, because additive production means that they can be produced as a single component - rather than being made from 18 separate parts, as was previously the case.

The company has offered $762 million for SLM Solutions and $685 million for Arcam.

Arcam AB is a Swedish company with its own high-end electron beam melting 3D printer, which also produces a large number of advanced metal powders for the aerospace and medical industries.

GE said its additive manufacturing efforts will focus on Europe.

The other is Arcam AB, based in Molndal, Sweden. Last year Arcam, which has 285 employees, generated $68m in revenues.

If the acquisitions are completed, the companies would report to David L. Joyce, president and chief executive of GE Aviation. SLM had $74 million in revenues a year ago and has 260 employees. With this news GE are bringing the technology in house and this may leave limited upside for companies left outside. That's 53% more than the company's closing price on Monday. It was the first engine containing 3D printed parts to receive "simultaneous type certification by the FAA and its European counterpart, EASA". "We want to be one of the companies that does that". He added, "3-D printing or additive manufacturing will drive new levels of productivity for GE including a wide array of additive manufacturing customers, and for the industrial world".

The Lübeck-headquartered firm completed an initial public offering of stock in May 2014, raising €180 million in its listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

The acquisitions also means GE could position itself as the supplier of such machines, as well as the powder metals used in additive manufacturing and the service contracts need to maintain them.

Since parts are built from the ground up, one of the big benefits is that it generates far less scrap metal than in traditional manufacturing. In terms of the company's long-term prospects, the Arcam board believes that the demand for the company's technology for additive manufacturing of aerospace and orthopedic implant products and components will increase dramatically, meaning that the market has favorable long-term growth opportunities.

Ark's Tasha Keeney said, "we expect to see more industrial firms copy GE's lead and adopt in order to keep costs low and create parts better suited for their end use".

"GE said it expected to purchase about 1,000 new 3-D printing machines over the next decade", the WSJ notes.

Industrial 3D printing is growing, with about two-thirds of USA manufacturers now adopting 3D printing in some way, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

  • Zachary Reyes