Lots of news from BigRep recently.
The Berlin-based company has been producing large-format FFF devices for many years, and was among the first to exploit the large format niche in the industry.
Two big events have taken place at the company.
First, they made a big acquisition. They gobbled up Hage3D, a producer of industrial 3D printers. They currently market a series of high-end devices that are capable of high temperature printing, and offer very precise part production.
The company also offers a special device that includes five-axis 3D printing. This permits 3D printing without the need for almost any support materials, reducing post processing work and ensuring good surface quality.
By joining up with BigRep, we have an interesting combination of technologies: high temperature, precision printing and large formats. While it may take a couple of years, I foresee some very interesting equipment to come out of BigRep in the future.
The other big news is that BigRep announced plans to “go public”, or in other words, become a publicly tradable company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Their approach to doing so is interesting: they aren’t going through the voluminous paperwork of a standard initial public offering (IPO), but instead are using a SPAC (“special purpose acquisition company”). A SPAC is a shell company that is on the stock market already, but doesn’t actively do anything. Its purpose is to be taken over by others that want a shortcut to the stock market.
That’s exactly what BigRep is doing: merging with SMG Technology Acceleration SE to almost immediately get on the market.
BigRep CEO Dr Sven Thate said:
“We expect the AM market to continue its dynamic growth for the foreseeable future, driven by the strong megatrends such as digitalization and decentralization of manufacturing. BigRep embraces those transformations, providing complete industrial AM solutions comprising of reliable hardware, productivity software, quality materials, and excellence in customer support. With our solutions based on Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) being by far the most widely used AM technology, we are in the sweet spot of industrial, automotive, and aerospace clients seeking fast ROIs not only for small parts but also for large, complex functional part production.”
Why would BigRep get on the market? One reason is that it would enable the ability to very quickly raise a lot of cash. And what could BigRep be planning to do with a lot of money?
My suspicion is that they will need resources to properly merge the HAGE3D technologies, as well as dramatically expanding their market. They were the first to discover a profitable market for large format 3D printers, and it may be that they’ve figured out a way to scale up operations.
Either way, things should be interesting for BigRep in coming years.