Metal powder producer Höganäs AB is set to acquire a 100% interest in fcubic AB of Gothenburg, Sweden. The deal, which will see fcubic rebranded as Digital Metal®, is set to close on 1 November 2012.
Fcubic has been developing its technology for Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, since 2003. Höganäs will use its leading expertise and technology know-how within powder metallurgy to expand the use of AM for components production. A large number of complex components, weighing up to 1 kg, within fields such as industrial, dental, medical, and aerospace applications can be converted to metal powder AM.
“In line with Höganäs’ vision, Digital Metal will further grow the market for metal powders as it can become a critical component and system manufacturing technology,” stated Alrik Danielson, CEO Höganäs. “It will add tremendous value to customers demanding minimal development time and mass customisation. With this deal Höganäs acquires the best available technology within the field.”
The market potential is currently estimated at 1 billion USD, mainly within the fields of consumer design, medical, dental, aerospace and industrial. However, this industry is still at a very early stage in its life cycle, consequently making it difficult to quantify the true potential.
There are several key additive manufacturing technologies for producing metal components on the market, i.e. Direct Metal Laser Sintering, Selective Laser Sintering and Electron Beam Melting. Höganäs claim that Digital Metal’s process offers further enhanced component precision, tolerances, surface finish and cost efficiency, whilst maintaining fast time to market.
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]