Defined: Why Stratasys is buying Covestro’s additive manufacturing enterprise

On Monday August eighth, Stratasys introduced a deal price as much as a possible 80 million EUR that can see Covestro Additive Manufacturing built-in into the corporate early subsequent 12 months. 

Stratasys is without doubt one of the oldest names within the additive manufacturing (AM) sector, whereas Covestro is a chemical substances big that acquired the 3D printing arm of DSM in 2021 after a 1.61 billion EUR acquisition of the corporate’s Resins & Purposeful Supplies (RFM) enterprise

DSM had established itself as considerably of a frontrunner within the 3D printing supplies house and had needed nearer ties with an additive manufacturing agency with proficiencies in {hardware} and software program. However when Covestro made the transfer to accumulate DSM’s RFM enterprise, the additive manufacturing group ‘didn’t have numerous choices.’ In some unspecified time in the future over the past 18 months, the DSM additive manufacturing group made their case to the Covestro Board of Administrators, who in flip reached out to leaders within the AM house. 

“Covestro acquired a number of companies from DSM, so we by no means had the chance to step again and say, ‘what can be one of the best ways to handle the way forward for our materials enterprise in 3D?’” VP of Covestro Additive Manufacturing Hugo da Silva advised TCT shortly after the announcement. “It was nice that the Board of Covestro listened to that, and so they began partaking with some corporations and clearly Stratasys. All people ended up comfortable.”

Right here, we clarify why Stratasys has moved to accumulate Covestro Additive Manufacturing, why Covestro was prepared to divest, and what either side see as the large alternatives of this deal. 

Why does buying Covestro Additive Manufacturing enterprise make sense for Stratasys?

As Stratasys has repeatedly referenced over the past two years, it’s vying to turn into the outright chief in polymer 3D printing. This has seen the corporate develop its {hardware} providing to incorporate Origin’s Programmable Photopolymerisation (P3) expertise, RPS’ Stereolithography (SLA) expertise and Xaar 3D’s Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF) expertise – all through acquisitions. 

Covestro’s additive manufacturing enterprise appealed to Stratasys as a result of it has recognized a necessity for a core materials providing to complement the aforementioned applied sciences, whereas additionally recognising a market demand for brand new 3D printing supplies. Stratasys believes, with 250 patents and an extra 400 pending, that Covestro Additive Manufacturing is among the many leaders in additive manufacturing supplies, whereas additionally sharing the identical imaginative and prescient, ambition and aspirations – “the primary success issue for an integration,” per CEO Yoav Zeif. 

Zeif continued: “Our technique is all about polymer manufacturing – we’re taking this business from being a prototyping business to a producing business. It doesn’t occur in a single month, not one 12 months, it’s a journey. Inside this journey, you want the perfect to be with you as a result of it’s a tricky and difficult journey. I’ve little question that DSM and Covestro Additive Manufacturing – if you put collectively the portfolio, the patents, the folks, the providing – is the perfect liquid resin/ powder you could purchase at present, plus the roadmap going ahead.”

Why is Covestro divesting its AM operations simply 18 months after buying DSM’s Resins & Purposeful Supplies enterprise? 

When Covestro acquired DSM’s RFM enterprise in 2021 in a deal price 1.61 billion EUR, it could be honest to say DSM’s water-based polyacrylate resins, together with its powder coating resins and radiation curing resins, had been the principle draw. 

DSM’s additive manufacturing enterprise was acquired, as da Silva describes it, in a bundle deal. However the AM group’s intention was at all times to align with a number one additive manufacturing firm. 

“We at all times had in our imaginative and prescient for the supplies enterprise to be nearer and nearer to an organization like Stratasys – a frontrunner in {hardware}, software program, utility,” stated da Silva. “We at all times thought from the fabric aspect that {hardware}, software program, design all working collectively can be extra highly effective to the business, particularly on the subject of addressing actual industrial manufacturing purposes.”

Covestro, in the meantime, noticed the profit in ‘optimising’ its portfolio, permitting it to position a fair higher concentrate on its core industries. Upon partaking with leaders within the 3D printing house, the corporate was ‘satisfied’ that Stratasys supplied the optimum circumstances to assist the additional progress of its Additive Manufacturing enterprise. 

Till the deal is closed within the first quarter of 2023, Covestro Additive Manufacturing has assured clients through a e-newsletter that ‘nothing adjustments in the way in which you do enterprise with us’ with ‘no deliberate modified to our organisation or our enterprise mannequin with out proactive superior discover and dialogue.’ 

What did Covestro add to the DSM AM group and why did they need to be a part of an organization like Stratasys?

Although the DSM additive manufacturing group at all times yearned to fall below the umbrella of Stratasys, there have been advantages to its time working with one of many world’s largest chemical substances corporations. 

da Silva advised TCT: “What we had in DSM was a library of chemistries. After we joined Covestro, we added to that library quite a bit and what Stratasys is taking into the deal is all the library coming from DSM and Covestro.”

This, da Silva says, is sweet information for DLP expertise, with Covestro Additive Manufacturing assured it has ‘a number of totally different background chemistries’ to play on, in addition to photopolymers which are translatable from SLA to DLP. The corporate additionally loved gaining access to Covestro’s TPU experience, for instance, which could bode properly for customers of powder mattress applied sciences. 

Now it’s part of Stratasys, da Silva means that having the ability to lean on the {hardware}, software program and utility information makes his group ‘extra highly effective’ within the growth of supplies. 

Why didn’t Stratasys transfer for DSM’s AM group two years in the past?  

Put merely, Stratasys had its focus elsewhere presently. Because it set off on its quest to turn into the chief in polymer 3D printing, Stratasys determined to first construct outs its {hardware} portfolio. The corporate believes in RPS it has one of the crucial dependable and correct 3D printing applied sciences, and has recognized the way in which to take SLA to the following degree is thru materials improvements. 

“The one factor that can make SLA bounce to the following degree is new chemistry,” Zeif stated. “It’s about creating these supplies that can have manufacturing properties. We all know that it’s attainable. There are new households of chemistry, there are new methods to formulate, and we might be there.”

Will Covestro AM’s supplies stay open for others to make use of? 

Sure. Though a key driver for Stratasys’s acquisition was so as to add a core materials providing to the P3, SLA and SLS expertise portfolios, the corporate is dedicated to the extra open supplies technique it has adopted in current instances. Through this technique, Stratasys and its customers had begun to learn from the likes of Covestro Additive Manufacturing qualifying its supplies on such platforms because the Fortus 450mc and Origin One. Because the aforementioned Covestro e-newsletter famous, clients might be made conscious prematurely of any adjustments to the enterprise mannequin. 

“We’re dedicated to our technique. We’ve a technique, and we comply with it and we stroll the speak,” Zeif stated. 

Covestro Additive Manufacturing boasts an providing of 60+ additive manufacturing supplies, together with the Somos and Addigy manufacturers.

What do either side see as the large alternatives transferring ahead? 

As already referenced, Stratasys and the Covestro Additive Manufacturing group are most enthused concerning the alternatives in photopolymers. Work on ‘disruptive supplies for DLP’ is already ongoing, whereas there are additionally stated to be patents regarding PolyJet and materials jetting that may be leveraged. 

“[There are] very thrilling issues that we will do, solely with the portfolio and the expertise and the expertise of the blokes at Covestro Additive Manufacturing,” Zeif stated. “There are PolyJet supplies that may work on DLP, there are SLA supplies you could tweak to work on DLP or PolyJet. It’s not straightforward, however I see the synergy.”

“I don’t need to spoil however there are a number of very fascinating applied sciences cooking within the kitchen,” da Silva added. “I can guarantee, from our information the place we sit as the fabric chief within the photopolymers, that [our] mixture may be very distinctive and when the deal is lastly closed, [it will] put Stratasys within the primary place in that house.”

Is Stratasys more likely to make additional acquisitions? 

The deal to combine Covestro Additive Manufacturing into Stratasys is one other important transfer for the corporate, and dietary supplements the strikes it made to accumulate Origin, RPS and Xaar 3D. Because it stands, the corporate now provides FDM, PolyJet, DLP, SLA and a powder mattress expertise in SAF, whereas additionally boasting intensive software program capabilities and now a supplies portfolio bolstered by Covestro Additive Manufacturing. 

However does Stratasys foresee extra M&An additional down the road? 

“The quick reply is sure, we maintain wanting,” Zeif supplied. “However we’re doing all the pieces inside a framework, we aren’t capturing throughout, we’ve got a technique. The technique is about polymer manufacturing and the power to ship to our clients what we name superior utility feed. You’ve gotten an issue, we’ve got the answer. The answer is {hardware}, software program, materials and repair that can suit your drawback in one of the best ways.

“We aren’t promoting what we’ve got. We’re growing options that you simply want. [That’s the] massive distinction over the past two and a half years. To try this, we’ll maintain doing no matter we’d like internally, externally, however inside this framework of polymers going to manufacturing.”


Wish to focus on? Be a part of the dialog on the Additive Manufacturing International Group Discord.  

Get your FREE print subscription to TCT Journal.