Xaar and Stratasys team up on 3D printing

Jo Francis
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Xaar and Stratasys have formed a joint venture to develop 3D printing systems using High Speed Sintering (HSS) technology.

A new company, Xaar 3D, has been set up with Xaar taking an 85% stake and Stratasys 15%, with the option to increase that to 30% at a future date.

Xaar has invested heavily in 3D printing in recent years. In 2016 the £100m turnover group appointed Professor Neil Hopkinson, who is credited with the invention of High Speed Sintering, as director of 3D printing and invested more than £1m of its R&D budget in 3D the following year.

Xaar 3D will hold all of Xaar’s High Speed Sintering assets. It will be chaired by Xaar chief executive Doug Edwards, who said the joint investment reinforced the value created by Xaar’s R&D investments, and built upon the group’s plans to diversify its business.

“We are pleased to be working alongside a leader in the 3D printing space, who recognises the value of Xaar’s technology and expertise,” Edwards said.

The value of the investment in the new company was not disclosed.

HSS involves printing an infra-red absorbing ink onto a polymer powder bed. After each layer is printed, infrared energy is absorbed by the ink, melting the powder particles underneath. According to Xaar, HSS can be from 10 to 100 times faster than laser sintering.

It has a wide array of potential applications, from aerospace and dental, to consumer goods.

Stratasys was founded in 1989 and has dual headquarters in the US and Israel. The business merged with Objet in 2012 and went on to acquire Makerbot the following year. Stratasys had sales of more than $668m (£506m) last year.

Chief Innovation officer Scott Crump, who invented the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) technology that was the foundation of Stratasys, said he had been impressed with Xaar’s achievements thus far in the 3D printing realm.

He described the assets of the two firms as “complementary” and said the new venture would “further address customers’ additive manufacturing requirements for a broader range of production applications”.

Stratasys currently offers FDM additive manufacturing technology, which involves extruding a thermoplastic filament, alongside its Polyjet inkjet 3D printing system using Ricoh printheads.

Xaar also has a partnership with BASF for 3D printing using photopolymer jetting.

Xaar’s share price jumped by 12.38p, or 5.15%, to 252.88p on the news (52-week high: 509.05, low: 226p).  

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