Cambridge-based Xaar and Stratsys have been working on powder-based SAF printing technology for the last 10 years, but delays to the development of products as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the business would potentially require more investment than originally planned.
Using SAF technology, the printers execute key 3D printing steps in the same direction across the print bed to provide a uniform thermal experience – and therefore part consistency – for all printed parts regardless of their placement in the build. This represents a significant improvement over traditional powder-bed fusion processes.
The agreement with Stratasys, which owned 45 percent of the joint venture, will provide Xaar 3D with the best opportunity to complete the commercialisation of the product range in the shortest time and enable Xaar to focus on its core business with an injection of cash, says Xaar, which will continue to receive royalties on product and service sales.
Xaar acquired Danish startup 3D Printer in 2016.
Stratasys introduced the H350 3D printer, the first system powered by SAF in April 2021. The H350 has been installed at Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and various beta customer sites in Europe and the U.S., with general availability expected before the end of this year.
“We are committed to being the leading provider of production-scale polymer 3D printing for our customers as additive manufacturing continues to transform industries around the world,” said Dr. Yoav Zeif, CEO of Stratasys. “The H350 printer and SAF technology are central to that mission, giving us a powerful platform for meeting the needs of customers in industries such as commercial goods, automotive, consumer goods, and consumer electronics. Customers tell us this technology’s consistent performance at higher volumes helps them grow their businesses and provides them a significant competitive advantage. We are excited to welcome the outstanding team of innovators from Xaar 3D to the Stratasys family.”
H Series printers are also designed for production control with multiple on-board sensors, build data is logged for process traceability and remains fully under customer control. Materials can be controlled, tracked, and traced, and print settings can be fine-tuned for each customer’s needs.
“We formed Xaar 3D on the premise that we could help existing powder bed technology make a major leap forward, and that’s what’s happening thanks to SAF technology,” said Ronen Cohen, General Manager of Xaar 3D. “We have been able to significantly improve thermal management for more consistent and reliable parts while giving customers the production control they need. As part of Stratasys, we will continue to rapidly advance H Series 3D printer development while leveraging Stratasys’ global go-to-market infrastructure and blue-chip customer relationships to enable more customers to benefit from SAF-powered additive manufacturing.”
“This agreement will provide Xaar 3D Ltd with the best opportunity to continue its progress and leadership in the field of industrial 3D printing,” said John Mills, CEO of Xaar which has restructured this year to focus on printing systems.
“We have enjoyed our partnership with Stratasys and look forward to continuing to work with them to supply printheads to Xaar 3D and share in the long-term success of the business. The agreement will also allow us to focus on our core business and other opportunities in the market that will support our long-term growth strategy.”
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