Somehow this wasn’t entirely surprising: AddUp has acquired 100% of BeAM.
The two French additive manufacturing companies both produce different types of 3D metal printers. AddUp, a venture from Michelin and Fives, produces a powder bed-laser style 3D metal printer, the FormUp series, that has been well received, and uses what they call the “LBM” (Laser Beam Melting) process. Recently they’ve been doing work on making it extremely easy to set up a 3D metal printing workshop through the use of pre-made operations facilities.
BeAM also produces 3D metal printers, but they use an entirely different process. Instead of LBM, they use a directed energy deposition process (DED) in which material is melted as it exits a nozzle, which precisely moves about in multiple axes to deposit material.
These two 3D metal printing processes both have advantages and disadvantages, depending on the intended application.
I’ve often said that there is no single 3D printing process that fits all needs, and that you should think of 3D printing as a set of different tools, where you bring out the right process for the job at hand.
I believe some of that thinking is present here.
By combining the two 3D metal printing technologies into one company, they now offer a broader set of solutions to the public. More sales can be made with a single encounter, as opposed to multiple sales encounters declining due to unavailability of an appropriate solution. This should be more efficient and effective for both product lines.
But as I said, this is somehow not too surprising. While both companies originate in France, I often felt there was something going on between them. They invariably appear at trade shows in identically sized stands always right beside each other. They would appear so similar that at first I thought they actually were the same company, just with different products.
I was wrong then, but I won’t be the next time I see them.