GE to acquire a 75% stake in Concept Laser

Oct. 27, 2016
GE has reached an agreement to acquire a 75% stake in additive manufacturing solutions maker Concept Laser.

Digital industrial company GE (Boston, MA) has reached an agreement to acquire a 75% stake in additive manufacturing solutions maker Concept Laser (Lichtenfels, Germany) for $599 million (€549 million). The agreement allows for GE to take full ownership in a number of years.

Privately held Concept Laser, with more than 200 employees, has significant operations in the United States (Grapevine, TX), China, and a global network of more than 35 distributors and agents. The company is a pioneer in the field of metal additive manufacturing.

Concept Laser designs and manufactures powder bed-based laser additive manufacturing (also called 3D printing) machines. Its customer base is focused on the aerospace, medical, and dental industries, with a meaningful presence in automotive and jewelry. The company's machine range incorporates both the largest and smallest build envelopes currently available on the market, and is capable of processing powder materials including titanium, nickel-base, cobalt-chromium, and precious metal alloys, as well as hot-work and high-grade steels and aluminum.

To support the growth potential of the business, GE has committed to invest significantly into Concept Laser's Lichtenfels-based headquarters, which will continue to serve as the company's headquarters and become a new German center for GE. GE will retain Concept Laser's management and employees. In addition, the close partnership that exists between Concept Laser and Hofmann Tool Manufacturing will continue.

Additive manufacturing involves taking digital designs from computer-aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part. Additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditional forged parts because they require less welding and machining. Because additive parts are essentially "grown" from the ground up, they generate far less scrap material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing dramatically expands the design possibilities for engineers.

GE, an end user and innovator in the additive manufacturing space, has invested approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies at GE's Global Research Center (GRC), developed additive applications across six GE businesses, and is pioneering services applications across the company.

In 2016, GE Aviation introduced into airline service its first additive jet engine component--complex fuel nozzle interiors--with the LEAP jet engine. The LEAP engine is the new, best-selling engine from CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines of France. More than 11,000 LEAP engines are on order with 20 fuel nozzles in every engine, thus setting the stage for sustainably high and long-term additive production at GE Aviation’s Auburn, AL manufacturing plant. Production will ramp up to more than 40,000 fuel nozzles using additive manufacturing by 2020.

GE Aviation is also using additive manufacturing to produce components in its most advanced military engines. In the general aviation world, GE is developing the Advanced Turboprop Engine (ATP) for a new Cessna aircraft, with a significant portion of the entire engine produced using additive manufacturing.

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