The recoater technology of Schaeffler Aerosint SA offers enormous commercial potential for Schaeffler Special Machinery and extends Schaeffler’s technology expertise in additive manufacturing. Photo: Schaeffler

Both parties have agreed not to disclose details of the transaction.

Remember Shaeffler, the machine manufacturer that recently debuted in the AM market. Well, it has just acquired Aerosint, a now former Desktop Metal AM company. As a reminder, Aerosint was founded in 2016, is based in Herstal, Belgium, and has 19 employees. It was acquired by Desktop Metal in 2021.

Interestingly, Aerosint supported the development Shaeffler’s multi-material 3D printing technology and the acquisition follows the standstill of discussions on a potential merger between Desktop Metal (DM) and Stratasys.

While we don’t know yet if this means that DM is restructuring its entire portfolio, we do know that the acquisition will give a strong boost to multi-material 3D printing whose applications are in-demand in the industry.

New acquisition, new name

The startup will be renamed “Schaeffler Aerosint SA” and integrated into the Schaeffler Group as an additional location for Schaeffler Special Machinery.

Andreas Schick, Chief Operating Officer at Schaeffler AG, commented on the deal as follows: “Schaeffler Aerosint SA offers the first industrial solution for simultaneous, metallic multi-material printing. This expertise, combined with our high level of industrialization competence and decades of know-how in innovative production technologies, will give us a decisive market advantage. The acquisition is an important milestone in the industrial use of metal-based additive manufacturing processes in the area of Industry 4.0.”

As far as technology is concerned, the patented Selective Powder Deposition (SPD) technology of Aerosint makes it possible to create homogeneous layers comprising multiple adjacent material deposits. The deposition is selective, meaning that the required amounts of the right materials are deposited at the required locations. The multiple material powders are kept separate and deposited by what are known as “recoaters”. These work like carriages in normal office printers, “printing” 3D components at lateral powder pixel resolutions of up to 300 μm. This SPD technology, which is already on the market, can be used with additive manufacturing processes such as laser powder bed fusion and binder jetting, as well as with indirect processes, a press communication explains.

Schaeffler Special Machinery will incorporate it into its system for multi-material 3D printing, which will be available from 2024. “By integrating this key future technology, Schaeffler Special Machinery, as a partner for production excellence, will be able to offer its customers a more diversified portfolio of systems, particularly for the manufacturing and medical technology sectors,” explained Bernd Wollenick, Senior Vice President Schaeffler Special Machinery.

While we look forward to seeing what Aerosint new chapter will look like within Schaeffler, Desktop Metal ensures that both companies will continue their collaboration in multi-material solutions, including in the area of toolless manufacturing technologies.

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Corporate communication and marketing expert by training at 3D Adept, Kety is currently leading the publication’s editorial and content activities. She has a unique gift for knowing how to grab an audience's attention on insights that matter – in this case, everything related to additive manufacturing. She believes that a wide range of innovations still have to be discovered about the technologies that shape the world of tomorrow and she has made it her objective at 3D ADEPT Media.