SLM Solutions Group AG, a provider of metal-based additive manufacturing systems based in Luebeck, Germany, has announced it is entering into a cooperation venture with PKM Future Holding GmbH to manufacture metal powders. PKM is the main shareholder of TLS Technik GmbH & Co Spezialpulver KG, a manufacturer of gas atomised metal powders in Bitterfeld, Germany.
“At the time of our IPO we had clearly stated our three-column growth strategy: alongside research and development, as well as distribution and service, the planned expansion of our metallic powder business was to represent a decisive building block,” stated SLM Solutions’ CFO Uwe Bögershausen “We are pleased to have now found the right partner in PKM, enabling us to offer our customers tailored solutions in the consumables area. Together with TLS’s main shareholder, we will invest a mid-range, single-digit million euro amount to this end.”
The development, production and distribution of aluminium alloys for metal-based Additive Manufacturing systems is intended to form the core of the cooperation between PKM Future Holding GmbH and SLM Solutions Group AG, within a joint venture that will be formed. According to the contract, SLM Solutions intends to acquire 51 % of the share capital of this planned joint venture.
“We are starting off with aluminium, an important material for us, and we are planning – along with actual production – to also implement refining steps for the powder. This will enable us to adapt consumables even better to customer requirements,” stated CEO Dr Markus Rechlin. “We are planning a total production capacity of more than 100 tonnes of aluminium powder per year for Additive Manufacturing purposes. We aim to offer other materials than aluminium at a later point in time.”
SLM Solutions intends to bundle the powder business within a separate organisational unit, together with further services for the Additive Manufacturing of metal components such as training, consulting and financing, in order to take the particularities of the business into account.
“By generating continuous sales over the course of the year, expanding the powder business should help us offset the strong seasonality of our system business,” added Bögershausen. “Over and beyond this, the consumables area is also interesting for us due to the fact that attractive margins can be achieved through developing and marketing metallic powders.”