Dec 26, 2016: GE, the world’s leading digital industrial company, has acquired 75% stake in Concept Laser of Germany. This agreement was reached for $599 million (€549 million), and allows GE to take full ownership in a number of years.
GE has also purchased 76.15% shares of Arcam AB of Sweden. With this, GE now has control over two major manufacturers of additive manufacturing machines and technology.
Privately-held Concept Laser has more than 200 employees and is headquartered in Lichtenfels, Germany, with significant operations in the United States (Grapevine, Texas), China, and a global network of more than 35 distributors and agents. Concept Laser is a pioneer in the field of metal additive manufacturing.
Concept Laser designs and manufacturers powder bed-based laser additive manufacturing machines. Its customer base is focused on the aerospace, medical and dental industries, with a meaningful presence in automotive and jewelry. Concept Laser’s machine range incorporates both the largest and smallest build envelopes currently available on the market and are capable of processing various powder materials including titanium, nickel-base, cobalt-chromium and precious metal alloys, as well as hot-work and high-grade steels and aluminum.
“Concept Laser founder Frank Herzog and his team are true pioneers in metal laser melting technology,” said David Joyce, GE Vice Chairman and President & CEO of GE Aviation. “We are committed to enhancing Concept Laser’s technologies and product offerings across a well-established customer base.”
Herzog commented, “GE shares our vision regarding the potential for additive manufacturing to lead the digital transformation of industrial production. We are delighted that together we will be able to accelerate development of the technology to the benefit of our customers. We have some exciting new product offerings due to come to market, including our innovative AM Factory of Tomorrow modular concepts, and with GE’s support we will be at the center of Industrie 4.0.”
Herzog will continue as CEO of Concept Laser and will also assume a senior leadership position within GE.
In order to support the growth potential of the business, GE has committed to invest significantly in Lichtenfels, which will continue to be Concept Laser’s headquarters and will become a new German center for GE. GE will retain Concept Laser’s management and employees. In addition, the close partnership that exists between Concept Laser and Hofmann Tool Manufacturing will continue. Concept Laser sets the stage for GE to sell additive manufacturing equipment across several industries.
Over the past 16 years, Concept Laser has industrialized the technology with its patented LaserCUSING process and remains at the forefront of the industry. Concept Laser has a comprehensive product offering ranging from small machines up to the machine with the world’s largest build envelope. The company’s machines with multi-laser technology are among the fastest and highest-quality laser melting machines in the world. Concept Laser has won multiple awards for innovation excellence in recent years and continues to invest heavily in customer centric technologies, including real time monitoring of the process through its QMmeltpool offering. At the forthcoming Formnext trade fair, Concept Laser will announce the sales launch of the new machine concept with fully modular machine technology along with the series production offering of the AM Factory of Tomorrow.
“Concept Laser machines are being used by leading manufacturers of medical, aerospace and dental components in series production as well as for prototyping and design. We are hitting an inflection point in demand as customers increasingly understand the possibilities that additive manufacturing presents and the technology advances to be able to turn these possibilities into reality. With GE’s broader investment into additive manufacturing, we believe that this process will only accelerate,” said Herzog.
Additive manufacturing (also called 3D printing) involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part. Additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditional forged parts because they require less welding and machining. Because additive parts are essentially “grown” from the ground up, they generate far less scrap material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing dramatically expands the design possibilities for engineers.
GE has made a public tender to acquire shares in Arcam AB. According to Arcam, the tender from GE is a strong confirmation that the company is a major player in the additive manufacturing industry and an attractive partner to GE.
According to GE, additive manufacturing is a fast growing, strategically important industry and as such a natural next step in GE’s development as a digital industrial company.
GE plans to retain and expand Arcam’s current customer base, in aerospace as well as in orthopedics. GE also intends to keep current locations of Arcam’s operations and to retain current management and employees. The Board of Arcam has recommended the shareholders to accept the offer.