The XponentialWorks umbrella is seeing some consolidation in ultra-fast 3D printing as SLA company Nexa3D acquires SLS-focused NXT Factory.
Both Nexa3D and NXT Factory are headquartered in Ventura, California — both, in fact, in the same headquarters. The companies have both been operating under the umbrella of XponentialWorks, the brainchild of 3D printing standout Avi Reichental.
XponentialWorks is perhaps a tricky entity to describe, so I’ll let them do it:
“XponentialWorks is a venture investment, corporate advisory and product development company, specializing in Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, and the digital transformation of traditional businesses,” the website explains.
By colliding mid-market traditional manufacturing companies with the most transformative and disruptive startups on the planet, we accelerate value creation.”
Indeed, the company is perhaps best experienced — so I went there last summer to spend some time on the ground with the teams working with exponential technologies including 3D printing.
There, I had the opportunity to speak directly with both the Nexa3D and NXT Factory teams about their unique 3D printing offerings.
Nexa3D is becoming quite well known for its super-fast stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing with its high-speed NXE 400 production system.
It seems like every time I refresh an inbox, the company is announcing another expansion of its increasingly expansive reseller network. The NXE 400 3D printer will, it seems, be quite visible in locations around the world in no time.
As of my visit in July 2019, the team had been on track for 170-200 machines going out the door. The plan for 2020 was closer to 1,000 unit shipments. Of course, that was pre-pandemic, so surely there’s been some change to those best-laid plans. Nexa3D has been among the 3D printing companies producing large volumes of nasopharyngeal (NP) testing swabs for COVID-19, among other responses, as well.
On the selective laser sintering (SLS) side is NXT Factory, which developed Quantum Laser Sintering (QLS) and introduced the QLS 350 system at RAPID + TCT 2019.
Focusing on the future of SLS fit for industrial use, the NXT Factory team introduced its high-speed, high-temperature, high-performance polymer system with an interesting factor: automation. The build unit offers automated movement into and out of the printer, allowing minimal disruption to print jobs on the factory floor. It also features autonomous powder management. The system operates at “up to 4X the print speed of traditional laser sintering technologies,” as the team described it. As of my visit last summer, the QLS 350 was nearing final validation and delivery.
Nexa3D Acquires NXT Factory
Today, Nexa3D has announced the acquisition of NXT Factory.
Transaction terms were not disclosed, but the deal has been through approvals from both companies’ boards of directors and stockholders. It is “expected to be completed as promptly as possible.”
High-speed polymer 3D printing will now be available from a larger Nexa3D portfolio encompassing both SLA/resin and SLS/powder capabilities.
Per the release, strategic benefits of this acquisition include:
- combining highly complementary ultrafast photoplastic and thermoplastic additive technologies and opening access to 100% of the available polymer applications
- uniting synergistic technologies under experienced leadership, doubling addressable market to over $10B, diversifying revenue streams and accelerating growth
- adding a portfolio of supply chain-approved, powder fusion plastics that deliver significant advantages over traditional manufacturing, addressing supply chain fragilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic
- leveraging Nexa3D’s global channel access in key markets and strategic relationships with leading materials suppliers.
Among those leading materials suppliers is Henkel, with which Nexa3D announced a materials partnership in April. The two companies recently debuted a new material, xMED412, for the medical industry. Similar to polypropylene, xMED412 is based on Henkel’s Loctite MED412 material — and is covered by all of its associated clearances, tests, and certifications.
Accessing expertise in different areas, from supply chain to materials, will benefit the new SLS addition to the portfolio to see growth there as well.
The timing, during a pandemic, has actually led the two teams to see where they might see synergies in strategic approaches and offerings.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Nexa3D and together unleash the power and potential of our products,” said Kuba Graczyk, Co-Founder and CEO, NXT Factory. “COVID-19 propelled both of our companies to demonstrate the unique capabilities of our complementary additive manufacturing power as we quickly ramped into full production of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers. This crisis has helped showcase the incredibly rapid and flexible nature of our combined additive manufacturing capabilities compared to traditional manufacturing and demonstrates how vulnerable the global manufacturing supply chain is to unexpected disruptions.”
From the Nexa3D side, COO Izhar Medalsy agrees, adding:
“During this unprecedented period, we continued to build a world class reseller channel, introduced several game-changing industrial and medical grade materials and forged powerful partnerships while delivering much needed PPE to frontline responders. We believe that our ability now to augment our organic growth plan with strategic additions will increase our marketplace attractiveness and relevance in the post-pandemic world, particularly within our targeted verticals, including healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and mobility industries, while adding an unmatched product portfolio that our global reseller channel is asking for.”
Finally, Reichental — who, in addition to founding XponentialWorks, is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Nexa3D (and Executive Chairman of NXT Factory) — says:
“We are very excited to bring together two complementary additive manufacturing disruptors that are united in their pursuit of breaking speed, performance and productivity barriers in additive manufacturing. We believe that the perfect strategic fit between our businesses and products, combined with the expanded capabilities in product development, channel coverage, manufacturing and marketing, will result in significant revenue and accretive growth potential. Given the resounding validation that the 3D printing industry has received during the course of the global community’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the right time for us to take this decisive step to realize the combined potential that this acquisition presents for the benefit of our expanding customer base, partners and stakeholders.”
Disclosure: XponentialWorks/Nexa3D has been a client of mine through Additive Integrity for work outside the scope of Fabbaloo, such as moderating webinars including one on the Nexa3D/Henkel development of xMed412 and its implications on the 3D printing of medical devices and equipment.