August 2021 saw the completion of the Tokyo Olympics, with 3D printing technology making several appearances on the world stage. Desktop Metal has announced plans to acquire binder jet rival ExOne in one of the biggest additive manufacturing acquisitions of the year. Arevo, Zetwerk, and ICON each provided important funding information, and Sheikh Mohammed of the United Arab Emirates issued an executive order to regulate construction 3D printing in Dubai.
Additive manufacturing at the Tokyo Olympics
The Tokyo Olympics ran from July 23 to August 8, 2021, and we saw a whole host of 3D printing apps supporting Olympians from all over the world. Car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group 3D printed a set of bow grips for the Korean archery team, helping them win gold in the men’s, women’s and mixed-team categories at this year’s games.
Elsewhere, aluminum specialist Fehrmann alloys The 3D print of a rudder suspension that helped propel the Australian sailing team to victory. The part was fabricated using Fehrmann’s high performance AlMgty alloy at the request of the Hamburg-based shipyard Ziegelmayer, one of the leading manufacturers of Olympic sailboats of the 470 class.
In the Paralympic space, provider of 3D printing services Verkstan 3D used carbon fiber 3D printing technology of Markforged to produce tailor-made sports equipment for para-athletes. The company helped design, 3D print and test prototype parts for a tandem cycle transmission for a blind cyclist and her sighted racing driver.
Desktop Metal acquires ExOne
Regarding the buyout news, the 3D printer maker Office metal came out on top when it struck a definitive deal to acquire rival binder jet company ExOne. The deal was finalized in the fourth quarter of 2021, with Desktop Metal paying ExOne shareholders $ 192 million in cash and $ 383 million in shares, valuing the company at $ 575 million. Both companies said they ultimately expect the deal to improve binder jet adoption rates, helping the technology spread to more high-volume customers.
“I am very excited about this combination, which I believe will dramatically accelerate the adoption of production metal additive manufacturing,” said John Hartner, CEO of ExOne. “This combination brings together two of the industry leaders, who combined will solve customer challenges faster and advance the reality of metal additive production by years.”
Fundraising news from Arevo, Gelato, Zetwerk and ICON
In August, composite 3D printing company Arevo closed a $ 25 million funding round led by Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund. The news came as the company also completed construction of the world’s largest continuous carbon fiber 3D printing facility to date. Equipped with 70 of the company’s shipping container-sized Aqua 2 3D printers, the facility is expected to help Arevo manufacture parts for bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters and other consumer products.
“After introducing Aqua 2 last year (4 times faster than Aqua 1), we focused on producing and operating these systems at scale,” said Sonny Vu, CEO of AREVO. “Now, with a total of 76 systems connected to the cloud and operating at our various sites, we have completed our first phase of industrialization.
Elsewhere, provider of on-demand manufacturing services Zetwerk raised $ 150 million to become one of India’s last business unicorns. The funding, which brought the company’s total value to $ 1.33 billion, will be used to invest in new technology and expand the company’s global reach. Zetwerk aims to better respond to Western manufacturers facing supply chain issues during the pandemic.
“Zetwerk is helping companies navigate the transition to digital manufacturing amid rapidly changing global supply chains,” said Amrit Acharya, CEO of Zetwerk. “Over the past year, more than 100 Western companies have moved their supply chains to India through Zetwerk, through industrial and consumer products. “
In the construction 3D printing sector, the Texan firm ICON raised $ 207 million to bring its total raised investment to $ 266 million. The company said it would use the capital to help “bring housing and construction into the modern world,” advance its concrete printing technology, increase its production capacity, and expand its engineering team and architects.
“Since our unveiling in 2018, ICON’s main job has been to evolve its technology from prototype to reliable, world-ready products and services,” said Jason Ballard, CEO of ICON. “It took dozens of fundamental breakthroughs in engineering, science and architecture, and we are very proud of where we are today. We want to increase the speed in a major way and we are ready to evolve. “
Sheikh Mohammed seeks to regulate construction 3D printing in Dubai
Finally, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), issued an executive order to regulate the use of 3D printing technology in the construction industry in Dubai.
Decree No. 24 of 2021 was passed to support the region’s goal of ensuring that a quarter of its newly constructed buildings are constructed using 3D printing technology by 2030. The new legislation also aims to promote Dubai as a regional and global hub for 3D printing. technology and is part of a larger plan to stimulate economic growth and the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies in the emirate.
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The image shown shows the Desktop Metal Shop system. Photo via Desktop Metal.