ExOne announced they’ve acquired the assets of Ohio-based Freshmade 3D, meaning they now own AMClad.
Freshmade 3D is a startup company that provided a variety of 3D services, mostly to produce specific tooling, architecture or artworks using advanced 3D printing techniques.
ExOne produces a line of sand 3D printers that are typically used to produce large industrial molds for casting. In fact, Freshmade 3D’s AMClad is built on top of ExOne’s 3D prints.
What is AMClad?
While Freshmade 3D is a bit mysterious about the nature of patented AMClad process, but it is patented. I found four different patents related to the process. Essentially, they are strengthening standard ExOne 3D prints by infiltrating them with a proprietary binder mixture.
The resulting items are far stronger than the relatively fragile ExOne raw sand 3D prints, and are able to withstand significant temperatures. Freshmade 3D says they can be used up to 350F (180C).
The AMClad parts can even be coated with metallic surfacing, and the company frequently displays items with shiny chrome surfacing.
Those properties allowed Freshmade 3D to taken on a variety of projects where larger scale objects were required. The AMClad process allows creation of larger objects with considerable strength, as compared to many large-format 3D printing processes, which produce large but not so strong parts.
Freshmade 3D says AMClad parts can be used for a variety of tooling procedures, including:
- Vacuum forming
- Steel forming
- Compression molding
- Composite molding
- Dip molding
- Trim fixtures
- Check gauges
In all, the AMClad process produces very versatile objects.
ExOne announced last week they have “acquired the assets of Freshmade 3D”, which would include AMClad. No doubt AMClad was the centerpiece of the acquisition.
Note that ExOne said they were acquiring the “assets of” and not just “acquiring”. They have not acquired Freshmade 3D, and it’s unclear what the future holds for that firm, particularly without any intellectual property assets.
However, the announcement said that Freshmade 3D’s co-founder, Rich Wetzel, will join ExOne’s application team.
Nevertheless, ExOne now has AMClad and can market it throughout their scope of operations. They explain:
“ExOne has been developing tooling products for its large, industrial 3D printers since 2014, and currently offers sacrificial tooling for composite layup that washes out with water. However, ExOne believes Freshmade 3D’s patented approach offers additional unique benefits and can help accelerate adoption of 3D printed sand tooling solutions.”
ExOne’s CEO, John Hartner, laid out the plans for AMClad:
“We are delighted to add Freshmade 3D’s patented process for creating durable 3D printed tooling to our portfolio. We plan to scale up this process for a global aerospace customer, who intends to use this tooling for composite layup of parts. This is an ideal solution for companies looking to shorten supply chains and produce tooling and final products locally.”
This is a good move for ExOne, as it provides a way to expand their potential market by enabling new applications. They may be able to sell AMClad to existing customers, or perhaps attract new ones who require its unique properties.