Sep 6, 2017 | By David

The phase of mergers and acquisitions that signals the maturing of an industry has been underway for a while now in the 3D printing world, and French industrial 3D printing giant Prodways has been more active than most on this front. In the last year and a half it has announced a major strategic partnership with Nextteam Group to form an aerospace division, as well as a collaboration with Ohio plastics company A.Schulman to produce powders for laser sintering. The company has now announced that it will be acquiring Interson-Protac, a medical device manufacturer also based in France.

Interson-Protac’s products are aimed at the audiology market, and the company has been a major player in this field for over 40 years. It supplies ear tips for manufacturers who make hearing aids and hearing protectors that are custom-made based on impressions of the wearer’s ear canal. The company’s focus on customizability meant that its increased implementation of 3D printing was inevitable, as the technology is ideal for precisely creating items with unique shapes at no extra cost.

20 percent of Interson-Protac’s production currently makes use of 3D printing technology, and the integration with market-leading Prodways means that its access to advanced additive technologies will now increase drastically, enabling it to extend this proportion considerably. Prodways Group is already backing a significant portfolio of other products in the field of medical devices, in the dental and podiatry sectors amongst others. 3D printing technology has completely revolutionized the way these kinds of devices are made in the last few years, and the same thing is now set to happen with audiology.

The senior executives of Interson-Protac are Remy Garrel and Francois Rey, and they will both be retaining their positions at the head of the company, as well as 25 percent of the share capital, with the other 75 percent going to Prodways. The profitable company, which has 47 employees, is expected to contribute at least 4 million Euros to Prodways Group’s total revenues for 2018. It will be part of the Products division, where the French giant also offers a range of 3D printed plastic or metal prototypes or items on-demand, in small batches. Prodways' reputation in the 3D printing world was established in large part due to its proprietary MovingLight technology, a disruptive 3D printing technology that is part of the company's separate Systems division.

Prodways Group is banking on the medical 3D printing sector continuing its impressive growth rate in the coming years, and we’d be inclined to agree with them, as awareness of the huge range of advantages offered by 3D printing increases almost at the same rate as the cost of the technology decreases. In future, personalized 3D printed medical devices for both serious conditions and everyday inconveniences are likely to become the norm, rather than the exception.

This high-profile acquisition by Prodways Group follows hot on the heels of another, which was announced back at the start of August. The business now has a major stake in AvenAo Industrie, a company that specializes in 3D printing design and development applications. This will add to the growth of the Systems division. AvenAo Industrie turned a profit in 2016, and the company’s impressive range of solutions should see it contributing at least €10 million to Prodways Group's revenues in 2018. The transaction is expected to be finalised in October of this year.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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