Nov 30, 2016 | By Benedict

Global tech company Oerlikon has announced the acquisition of citim, a German additive manufacturing specialist, as it aims to expand its 3D printing capabilities in Europe and the USA. A specialist in small-series production of metal 3D printed products, citim also makes functional prototypes.

In its efforts to become a major player in the global surface solutions and advanced materials markets, Swiss company Oerlikon is seeking to add 3D printing to its growing list of areas of expertise, which includes the engineering of industrial components, materials, and related technologies such as thermal spray and thin-film coating. With the acquisition of metal additive manufacturing company citim, Oerlikon has a particular plan in mind: to make itself into an independent service provider for 3D printed components, with all steps in the additive manufacturing process offered from a single source.

Barleben-based citim’s main area of expertise is metal additive manufacturing for small-series production and functional prototypes, and the company operates in both Europe and the USA, serving high-tech industries such as aviation, automotive, and energy. In 2015, citim generated $11.8 million in sales and profitability, around the same level as the operating margin of the Surface Solutions Segment.

Although citim will remain the 3D printing expert of the two parties, Oerlikon is already well positioned to transition into additive manufacturing, as it offers a portfolio of advanced metal-based materials and processing technologies, including metal powders suitable for 3D printing processes like Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). This, coupled with its R&D skills and knowledge about producing industrial components, powder materials, surface technologies for post-production processing, and in-house services for component production, makes Oerlikon a perfect candidate for a new 3D printing venture.

Metal 3D printed parts from citim at the 2014 TCT Show

Through the acquisition of citim, Oerlikon now seems to be in a good position to advance with its goal of becoming an additive manufacturing service provider, and—perhaps most importantly—both companies believe they can work well together: “citim and Oerlikon’s technology and expertise fully complement each other,” said Frank Lehmann, CEO and owner of citim. “As part of the Oerlikon Group, citim will be able to offer its global customer base enhanced AM technologies and competencies and a comprehensive range of services along the entire value chain.”

Oerlikon CEO Dr. Roland Fischer added: “The competencies and team from citim will serve to consolidate our position in the additive manufacturing business, marking the acquisition as an important move for us to drive the industrialization of additive manufacturing and to become an independent service provider for the production of additively manufactured components. We will continue to make targeted investments in the additive manufacturing market to solidify our value proposition.”

With over 100 years of experience, Oerlikon currently has over 13,500 employees at more than 170 locations around the world. In comparison, citim—founded in 1996 as a spin-off of Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg—has around 120 employees. In 2004, the German 3D printing company launched its first laser sintering 3D printers, adding laser melting technology to its portfolio five years later.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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