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If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Posted on November 2nd, 2016 by in New Materials & Applications


By Chris New via GE Reports

… buy, buy again. With its acquisition bid for SLM Solutions falling through, GE sets its sights on Concept Laser Gmbh.

In early September, GE announced plans to invest $1.4B acquiring two companies in the additive manufacturing space – one of which was SLM Solutions that we discussed in a previous post. The acquisitions were part of GE’s strategy to accelerate its competitive presence in the Digital Industrial market and to provide additional capacity to the company for their increasing use corporate wide of additive manufacturing. According to Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE, “Additive manufacturing is a key part of GE’s evolution into a digital industrial company. We are creating a more productive world with our innovative world-class machines, materials and software. We are poised to not only benefit from this movement as a customer, but spearhead it as a leading supplier.”

The Company’s plans hit a bit of a snag in late October as detailed in a story by the Wall Street Journal citing opposition to the deal by a fund belonging to Elliott Management Corp. which holds more than 20% of SLM Solutions Group AG.

Undeterred, GE has apparently taken the bad news in stride announcing intentions to acquire the alternative company Concept Laser Gmbh for for $599 million. The deal will initially give GE a 75% stake in the company, providing terms expanding to full ownership over several years.

Similar to SLM Solutions, Concept Laser designs and manufactures powder bed-based laser additive manufacturing machines. Using 3D digital models, lasers are numerically guided across a bed of finely powdered metal to selectively sinter precise parts. Capable of employing a variety of powdered materials such as titanium, nickel alloys, cobalt-chromium alloys, steels and aluminum, the company’s machines have applicability across a variety of markets including aerospace, automotive, medical device, and jewelry. The following video illustrates the overall steps in the process 3D printing with powdered metals:

While chip management and manufacturing scrap reclamation has traditionally been a part of an efficient manufacturing enterprise, the capability to capture, sieve, and reuse excess powder offers a new level of efficiency and economy. Elimination of potential caustic coolants can also offer welcome legislative and regulatory relief by removing the subsequent reporting burdens on your manufacturing organization.

Ready to melt some powdered metal with light at your company? What manufacturing processes could you improve using this technique? Tell us about your quest for unconventional knowledge and what it could mean for the future of your products or companies. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media channel.

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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