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September 7, 2016

GE buys European 3D printing companies for $1.4 billion

GE to acquire Sweden's Arcam and Germany's SLM Solution Group.

By Hannah Williams

General Electric (GE) has revealed it will spend a total of $1.4billion in buying two European makers of 3D printers.

GE made an offer to buy Sweden’s’ Arcam for $680 million, along with a separate transaction to acquire SLM Solution Group of Germany. SLM investors are expected to receive €38 a share from GE.

The General Electric firm has so far become Arcam’s biggest customer since last year, placing the largest orders to date.

The company is surprisingly buying into two competing technologies – Arcam uses electron beams, while SLM uses a laser-based system. 

Arcam promotes its proprietary technology using electron beams as having a fast printing process and greater ability to use a wide range of printing materials.

Arcam are said to have plans to expand into other sectors outside its focus of aerospace and medical implants.

On the other hand, SLM are mainly capable of making more detailed components with its laser-based system.

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David Joyce, Chief Executive of GE Aviation said: “They each bring two different, complementary additive technology modalities. Over time, we plan to extend the line of additive manufacturing equipment and products.”

The recent acquisition of the two companies follows expectations to expand use for the manufacture of components like aircraft parts.

Chief Executive Officer of Arcam, Magnus Rene said: “We feel that GE is a strong industrial owner, which makes us stronger that the rather fractionalised ownership we have today.”

3D printing’s global market, also known as additive manufacturing, continues to grow as companies such as GE increasingly rise towards commercial parts production for making prototypes.

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