Rapid prototyping and manufacturing developers Stratasys Inc. (Minneapolis) and Objet Geometries Ltd. (Rehovot, Israel) have agreed to join forces, creating a potentially dominating force in additive manufacturing.
Under terms of their definitive merger agreement, long-time additive manufacturing leader Stratasys and privately held Objet, a leader in 3D printing and materials, would combine in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.4 billion, based on the closing price of Stratasys’ common stock on April 13. The deal would position the new company, which will be named Stratasys Ltd., as a leader within the high-growth 3D printing and direct digital manufacturing industry, according to the companies.
The deal calls for Stratasys to merge with a subsidiary of Objet, and Stratasys shareholders will receive one share of the new combined company for each share of Stratasys common stock they own. Upon closing of the transaction, Stratasys shareholders are expected to own 55% and Objet shareholders are expected to own 45% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis using the treasury stock method. The combined company will retain the Stratasys name and operate under the name Stratasys Ltd., and have dual headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and Rehovot, Israel, at the companies’ current locations. Stratasys Ltd. will be registered in Israel, and the company will continue to trade on NASDAQ under the ticker SSYS.
Scott Crump, co-founder, current chairman and CEO of Stratasys, will become full-time chairman of the combined company. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will also form an executive committee comprised of four members of the board of directors whose duties will include overseeing the integration of Stratasys and Objet and implementing the combined company’s business strategy. Elchanan Jaglom, current chairman of Objet, will serve as chairman of the executive committee of the combined company. David Reis, current chief executive officer of Objet, will become CEO of the combined company.
Following the closing of the transaction, the board of directors of the combined company will consist of nine directors, with four directors designated by Stratasys and four directors designated by Objet. One additional director will be designated by Stratasys and approved by Objet.
The merger of Stratasys and Objet is expected to create a world-class company offering an impressive portfolio of 3D printing and direct digital manufacturing solutions, the companies note, with highly complementary product lines that can offer customers the right solutions.
"Today marks a significant milestone for Stratasys and an important development for the 3D printing and direct digital manufacturing industry," says Crump. "We are bringing together two of the most innovative and respected players in the field to create a global leader in a high-growth industry. Together we will have a broader and more comprehensive product and technology portfolio, and the resources, team and financial strength to achieve our goals. Building on the success of both companies, I am confident that we will capitalize on the many opportunities this combination creates for our shareholders, channel partners, customers, employees and other important stakeholders."
"We are excited to be joining forces with Stratasys," says Objet’s Reis. "This transaction creates an organization that will provide a broad range of rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing applications to our customers, and the ability to bring exciting new products to the market. With an impressive technology portfolio, great talent, and an extensive sales and marketing channel, we will be well positioned to achieve efficient growth, expand our distribution reach and create value for all of our stakeholders."
The merger would result in a wide-ranging product portfolio that would include Stratasys’ patented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology for creating functional prototypes and the company’s Solidscape technology, acquired last year when Stratasys bought Solidcape Inc., which is used to make complex wax patterns for the investment casting process of finished parts, plus Objet’s PolyJet technology, which provides high-resolution printing suited for rapid prototyping and applications that require high feature detail and a finer surface finish.
The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2012, is subject to several factors including approval by Stratasys shareholders, registration of the Objet shares issuable to Stratasys shareholders with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions including the approval by Objet shareholders.
AIAG Launches New
Auto Training Program
The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG, Southfield, MI), a not-for-profit, member-supported organization, has launched a new training program for Materials Management Operations Guideline/Logistics Evaluation (MMOG/LE). The training, developed under the leadership of volunteers from QAD and General Motors and vetted by GM, Ford and Chrysler, will help suppliers better understand and implement MMOG/LE to improve supply chain management.
"In light of the challenges of globalization, speed of innovation and fluctuation in vehicle demand, it is imperative that the industry takes its supply chain management capabilities to the next level," says J. Scot Sharland, executive director of AIAG. "AIAG is committed to providing the tools, including best practices, guidelines and self-assessments, to help companies of all sizes develop a comprehensive ‘go-forward’ plan that will positively impact their ability to deliver the right products to the right places in the right quantities at the right time."
MMOG/LE is the global standard for supply chain management processes that reduce costs from errors, waste and workload for suppliers and customers. It includes customer requirements, capacity constraints, contingency planning, sub-tier capability, resource allocation and employee skills. The AIAG training program teaches MMOG/LE best practices so companies can complete the assessment tool. Additionally, the training shares methods for materials management efficiency and effectiveness in the supply chain.
The course is designed for all levels of an organization that want to better understand MMOG/LE and benefit from its implementation. It is offered as a single full-day session for both members and non-members of AIAG, with six offerings scheduled in 2012 through November. For more information, visit www.AIAG.org.
EOS Files Patent Suit
Laser-sintering systems and additive manufacturing developer Electro Optical Systems GmbH (EOS, Germany) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Phenix Systems (Riom, France) alleging violation of its patent rights in the US.
EOS filed the infringement lawsuit against Phenix Systems at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The lawsuit alleges infringement of US Patent Nos. 5,753,274 and 6,042,774 through the manufacture, sale and use of the PXL, PXM, PXS and PXS Dental product lines from Phenix in the US, according to EOS. During the second half of 2011, Phenix had announced the commercial manufacture, sale and use of exactly these product lines publicly, even though EOS had apprised Phenix of its patent portfolio several times, according to EOS. As a consequence, EOS filed the patent lawsuit against Phenix on March 5, 2012.
"Filing this patent infringement lawsuit is an essential step in protecting our patent rights in the US," says Johann Oberhofer, EOS CFO. "We hope that this litigation will quickly resolve the situation."
EOS has patents granted for its own inventions in the field of laser-sintering and the company’s current patent portfolio includes more than 50 patent families worldwide, according to EOS, including owning exclusive worldwide rights to all patents owned by 3D Systems Corp. applicable to the field of laser sintering which were filed prior to August 20, 2002.
For more information visit www.eos.info.
Metrology developer Renishaw Inc. (Hoffman Estates, IL) has purchased R&R Sales LLC (Grand Haven, MI), a supplier of fixtures for the global measurement and inspection market. The acquisition of R&R supports Renishaw’s increasing focus on metrology system sales, such as those involving its new Equator gage, which requires fixturing devices, according to Renishaw.
No financial details of the deal were released. R&R Sales has 19 employees and its products are widely used to hold parts for dimensional inspection in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical and household appliance industries.
Aerospace consortium EADS (The Netherlands) and Creaform (Québec City, Montréal) have entered into a technological partnership agreement covering 3D optical measurement for aerospace and defense applications. The agreement was announced at the National Research Council Canada’s Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre, and with the support of the Quebec Aerospace Association.
The five-year agreement provides for the development of innovative applications in the field of optical 3D measurement for non-destructive testing (NDT), test monitoring and form and surface measurement, applied to aeronautics, space and defense.
EADS is comprised of Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter, and Creaform specializes in 3D portable optical measurement technologies and 3D engineering services. The company offers innovative solutions that cover the entire range of 3D applications, including 3D scanning, reverse engineering, inspection, design and engineering and FEA.
You Ji Machine Industrial Co. Ltd. (Taiwan), an OEM partner of Absolute Machine Tools Inc. (Lorain, OH) has opened a new facility in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. The new facility is 188,370 ft2 (8218 m2) and features a robust electronic infrastructure, manufacturing and assembly areas equipped with new hoisting mechanisms and an advanced climate control system, a contemporary design and engineering department, modern offices, a customer demonstration room, and a training center with high-definition presentation equipment. Absolute Machine Tools sells and supports You Ji vertical turret lathes.
Cideas Inc. (Crystal Lake, IL), a rapid prototyping, direct digital manufacturing (DDM) and 3D printing services company, has been recognized for having exceptional Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) expertise in winning the FDM Dinosaur Award at the 2012 Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference. The AMUG Dinosaur award recognizes individuals for both their contributions to AMUG and years of experience working with the technology. Cideas is an independently owned service provider of the FDM technology. ME
This article was first published in the June 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.