Schaeffler AG, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, has acquired Aerosint SA, a developer of powder deposition technology based in Herstal, Belgium, from Desktop Metal. The company will undergo a name change to Schaeffler Aerosint SA and will be incorporated as an additional location for Schaeffler Special Machinery within the Schaeffler Group.
“Schaeffler Aerosint SA offers the first industrial solution for simultaneous, metallic multi-material printing,” stated Andreas Schick, Chief Operating Officer at Schaeffler AG. “This expertise, combined with our high level of industrialisation 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.”
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Aerosint’s patented Selective Powder Deposition (SPD) technology is said to enable the creation of homogeneous layers with multiple adjacent material deposits. The deposition is selective, depositing the right amounts of materials at the correct locations. The various material powders are kept separate and deposited by devices known as “recoaters”. These operate similarly to carriages in standard office printers, “printing” 3D components at lateral powder pixel resolutions of up to 300 μm. This SPD technology, which is currently on the market, is compatible with Additive Manufacturing processes like Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) and Binder Jetting (BJT), as well as indirect processes. Schaeffler Special Machinery plans to incorporate it into its multi-material Additive Manufacturing system, which is set to 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.
Aerosintwas founded in 2016 and has 19 employees. It was acquired by Desktop Metal in 2021. Ric Fulop, Desktop Metal’s founder and CEO, said Aerosint’s technology has a nearer term roadmap with laser systems and Schaeffler can make immediate use of the technology. “With Schaeffler, we have an international partner with a high level of technology expertise and clear roadmap for commercialising the SPD technology with laser-based systems. We will continue to collaborate on the various possibilities for using this technology in Desktop Metal binder jetting systems in the future.” In addition, Schaeffler and Desktop Metal will continue their collaboration in multi-material solutions, including in the area of toolless manufacturing technologies.