Markforged Inc. today announced that it has agreed with Höganäs AB to acquire Digital Metal, the creator of a leading binder-jetting technology. The Watertown, Mass.-based company said Digital Metal will extend its capabilities into mass production of metal additive parts.
“With the Digital Metal acquisition, Markforged is advancing our vision for distributed manufacturing by enabling the reliable, high-volume production of precise metal parts at the point of need,” stated Shai Terem, president and CEO of Markforged. “Infusing Digital Metal’s solution into The Digital Forge platform allows us to address new applications in the medical, automotive, luxury goods, and other industries.”
The Digital Forge is Markforged's integrated metal and carbon-fiber additive manufacturing (AM) platform. The company said it “brings the power and speed of agile software development to industrial manufacturing, combining hardware, software, and materials to solve supply chain problems right at the point of need.”
Engineers, designers, and manufacturing professionals all over the world rely on Markforged metal and composite printers for tooling, fixtures, functional prototyping, and high-value end-use production, said the company.
Markforged announced a $2.1 billion special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger in February 2021 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange a year ago. In April, the company acquired Teton Simulation Software.
It has more than 400 employees worldwide, including three sites in Massachusetts. Markforged plans to soon move its headquarters to a bigger building in Waltham, Mass.
Markforged builds technology for quality, sustainability
“We've become more of a platform ecosystem model, with our own machines, cloud software, and continuous impregnated fiber,” said Charles Lu, product marketing manager at Markforged. “Our Blacksmith software simultaneously scans, calibrates, and inspects parts, and we started printing metals in 2017.”
“The ability to print advanced composites that are stronger and cheaper than aluminum is the only way to push innovation for the aerospace and automotive industries,” Terem told Robotics 24/7. “For example, by reducing the weight of a mounting for KUKA robot arms, an automaker dropped four seconds in production time. If it's rolling a car off the line every 60 seconds, that's quite a savings.”
“In addition, point-of-need production reduces emissions, and there's less inventory and waste in production,” he said. “Because we collect data, we can ensure reliability and push updates on bugs spotted somewhere else. With Blacksmith, customers can get the same print every time and double their speed.”
Digital Metal prints parts at scale
Headquartered in Southern Sweden, Digital Metal is a wholly owned subsidiary of Höganäs AB, which was founded in 1797. Founded in 2003, Digital Metal said its proprietary binder-jetting technology enables the production of “highly complex objects with superior surface finish and repeatable accuracy.”
In addition to developing, manufacturing, and selling 3D printers, Digital Metal also offers small-volume or mass-production printing services. The company said it has printed hundreds of thousands of parts. It counts many of the world’s leading academic institutions and automotive, consumer products, medical device, and energy companies among its customers.
“Markforged’s easy-to-use platform, best-in-class software capabilities, and material expertise felt like a natural fit for the future of our technology,” said Christian Lönne, CEO of Digital Metal. “With Markforged’s experience and go-to-market scale, we are confident that we will be able to grow our technology together and help more manufacturers produce the high-volume metal parts they need to drive highly productive and cost-efficient operations.”
Markforged to make manufacturing move faster
Traditional production often requires months to move from design to manufacturing, introduces third-party supplier risk, and provides poor unit economics during ramp up with lower volumes, said Markforged. The company said its acquisition of Digital Metal will enable manufacturers to produce high volumes of functional metal parts with minimal setup.
Markforged described powder binder jetting as “a highly scalable additive manufacturing technology for production-grade parts using a variety of metal materials.”
“Digital Metal’s solution is designed to provide high-precision, best-in-class part quality and reliability,” it added. “Powder binder jetting complements the existing Digital Forge offering, and will expand Markforged’s addressable market by solving new customer problems.”
“The Digital Metal team has created a robust and scalable solution that complements our existing technologies,” Terem said. “I look forward to welcoming their talented people to Markforged.”
As part of the transaction, Markforged will pay Höganäs approximately $32 million in cash, approximately 4.1 million shares of Markforged common stock, and approximately $1.5 million in cash to settle certain intercompany balances, subject to certain adjustments. The acquisition of Digital Metal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary conditions.
About the Author
Eugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
Follow Robotics 24/7 on Facebook
Email Sign Up
Get news, papers, media and research delivered
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job.
Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Robotics 24/7.
Subscribe to our robotics user email newsletter and we'll keep you informed and up-to-date.