Supplier of additive manufacturing systems Optomec has announced the acquisition of Huffman today. The latter company specializes in the development and implementation of production laser cladding and welding systems, multi-axes profile grinders and abrasive waterjet machines.

So far, Optomec is acknowledged for its  electronics 3D printer as well as its metal 3D printers. Its electronics 3D printers have been widely used in research laboratories. Today, with the acquisition of Huffman, the company is also seizing the opportunity to expand its services on aerospace and energy markets.

Indeed, according to Huffman, its metal 3D printing systems enable in the additive repair of gas turbine components. The company’s equipment and software are used by various manufacturers of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines.

The acquisition seen at a strategic level

This acquisition enables both companies to complete their existing portfolios and technical expertise: Optomec for the gas and turbine market and Huffman for Optomec’ technical expertise.

Both Optomec and Huffman deliver a form of metal 3D printing that is known as Directed Energy Deposition (DED; tradename LENS®). LENS has distinct advantages over the more widely-known form of metal printing referred to as Powder Bed Fusion (PBF), or Selective Laser Melting (SLM). In particular, LENS is able to print full parts at a fraction of the time and cost of PBF/SLM, yet with better material and mechanical properties. Additionally, LENS is uniquely able to add metal to existing parts for repair and coating applications that extend the useful life of components.”

The opportunity for additive manufacturing in repair applications is often overlooked, but when you consider that corrosion and wear cost the US economy $300 billion per year, and that the global commercial aviation industry spends almost $100 billion annually on repair, you can get a better sense of the magnitude of these markets,” said Mr. David Ramahi, president and CEO of Optomec.

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