Shapeways announced a strategic new facility in Livonia, Michigan, effectively doubling their US manufacturing presence.
Shapeways is no newcomer in the digital manufacturing space, having been one of the very first to recognize the need for 3D print services to the public. In recent years, however, the company has shifted focus toward a more profitable market segment: industry. Towards that goal, the company’s strategic acquisition of Linear AMS in August 2022 augmented their capabilities in molding, tooling, and additive manufacturing.
The Shapeways Livonia Facility
The new Livonia facility, along with a molding facility in Charlotte, MI, represents significant expansion for Shapeways, demonstrating its ability to meet the diverse manufacturing needs of its customers. The expansion features state-of-the-art technology like Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) and Electron Beam Melting (EBM) to 3D print metal parts with exceptional mechanical properties. This enhancement, courtesy of Linear AMS, not only streamlines crucial processes like prototyping but also reduces labor and expenses.
Manufacturing with Metal 3D Printing and Conformal Cooling
Linear AMS’s unique offering, Conformal Cooling, comes into the spotlight with 3D printed cooling lines for molds and tooling. This approach significantly reduces cycle times by controlling thermal properties and optimizing quality, performance, and output. The 69% reduction in cooling times and increased output to 140 parts an hour stand as a testament to the potential of this technology in transforming traditional manufacturing approaches.
Implications and Speculation
Shapeways’ expansion is likely to increase their capabilities in the highly competitive additive manufacturing services market. There are now a number of very capable players in the space, and some are extremely well-funded. It’s no longer sufficient to provide just 3D print services; customers require a wide variety of making services. The Livonia facility, providing both traditional and additive manufacturing services, matches what several Shapeways competitors have been implementing.
Shapeways, once the leader in 3D print services, has struggled against now much larger competitors. As a result, their share price has plummeted notably from its previous highs. The addition of the new facility will provide more capacity and capability, which should positively impact the outlook for Shapeways.