General Electric has an agreement in place to buy a 75% stake in additive-manufacturing technology developer Concept Laser GmbH for $599 million (€549 million), with terms that allow GE to take full ownership in a number of years. The move extends GE’s recent efforts to establish itself as a “digital industrial company,” and also offsets the difficulty created when its previous bid for SLM Solutions failed to win support of that company’s major investor.
The deal is subject to customary regulatory reviews.
Concept Laser is privately held and has over 200 employees, at its headquarters in Germany and at subsidiaries in Grapevine, Tex., and in China. It also has distributors and sales channels in place around the world.
Concept Laser designs and manufactures systems that produce metal components from powder using laser power to sinter the metal and fuse layers of material into finished, 3D designs. It calls the process LaserCUSING®, and asserts that the process creates mechanically and thermally stable, high-precision metallic parts. It is effective with stainless and tool steels, aluminum and titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, cobalt-chromium alloys, and precious metals like gold and silver alloys.
Its customers are manufacturers and suppliers of parts for aerospace systems, medical and dental implants, automotive parts, and jewelry.
GE noted that Concept Laser’s machines include both the largest and smallest build envelopes now available for particular powder metals, including titanium, nickel-based alloys, cobalt-chromium and precious metal alloys, and hot-work and high-grade steels and aluminum.
According to Concept Laser founder Frank Herzog, “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.”
Herzog and the Concept Laser management team will remain following GE’s acquisition, and GE committed to invest “significantly” at the headquarters location in Lichtenfels, Germany.
David Joyce, GE vice chairman and GE Aviation president and CEO, stated, “We are committed to enhancing Concept Laser’s technologies and product offerings across a well-established customer base.”
GE is already a major end-user of additive-manufactured (i.e., 3D printed) parts, in particular for jet engine components, like fuel nozzle elements for the CFM International LEAP engines. GE notes it has invested approximately $1.5 billion in additive manufacturing and additive technologies, and developed various 3DP parts in each of its major GE business units.
Last month, GE announced it would pay a total of $1.4 billion to buy two suppliers of additive manufacturing equipment, Arcam AB and SLM Solutions Group AG. Its bid for Arcam AB has been raised and the terms have been extended, but the offer for SLM Solutions was rejected by that firm’s major shareholder. Though GE initially increased its offer and modified its terms in order to close the deal for SLM, it subsequently withdrew the offer and announced the deal for Concept Laser.