BASF expands 3D printing industry hold with acquisition of Sculpteo

BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, has acquired Paris-headquartered 3D printing service bureau Sculpteo

A formal agreement regarding the acquisition was signed on November 14 2019, between BASF New Business GmbH (BNB), a division of the German chemical company focused on innovative technologies, and Sculpteo. The agreement is expected to become effective in the coming weeks following regulatory approval by the relevant authorities. Terms of the transaction, including the value of the deal, have not yet to be disclosed. Sculpteo’s management team will remain in place as the acquisition is carried out. 

The acquisition will be utilized to help BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH (B3DPS), a subsidiary of BNB dedicated to additive manufacturing, market and produce new 3D printing materials at a faster pace. “Through the acquisition of Sculpteo, we can provide customers and partners with even faster access to our innovative 3D printing solutions,” explains Dr. Dietmar Bender, Managing Director BASF 3D Printing Solutions. 

“Together with Sculpteo, we are pursuing our goal of establishing additive manufacturing as a proven technology for industrial mass production.”

3D printed airless tires that used BASF thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Image via BASF.
3D printed airless tires made from BASF thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Image via BASF.

Expanding Sculpteo into a global 3D printing network

Founded in 2009, Sculpteo has operated as an online platform providing 3D printing services for over a decade. Using the site, customers are able to manufacture prototypes, individual objects, and serial production components from a selection of ten 3D printing technologies, with over 75 materials and finishing options. The company has locations in Paris and San Francisco, and factories across Europe including the UK, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. 

With the acquisition, BASF aims to develop the Sculpteo 3D printing platform further into a global network. Customers and partners of B3DPS will therefore gain access to an additional channel for marketing their services and expanding their own customer bases: “In addition, our customers will benefit from an extended range of services,” adds Bender.

Combining both companies’ respective strengths, Sculpteo will be able to offer its customer base additional 3D printing materials, expanding its portfolio. Furthermore, the Sculpteo Design Studio and BASF’s technical experts will work together to provide customers with an end-to-end service for 3D printing support. “We are excited to join the BASF team and thus benefit from BASF’s outstanding R&D to provide our customers with innovative solutions,” comments Clément Moreau, CEO and Co-Founder of Sculpteo. 

Sculpteo software. Photo via Sculpteo
Sculpteo software. Photo via Sculpteo

BASF presence within the 3D printing industry

BASF develops and provides a wide range of 3D printing filaments, resins and powders within its expansive material portfolio. A prominent figure within the 3D printing industry, the company has established key material partnerships with various 3D printer manufacturers, including HP, BigRep, Essentium, BCN3D and more. BASF has also made several investments into 3D printing businesses over the years, including a $25 million investment into Belgian 3D software and service provider Materialise in 2018. 

B3DPS was established by BNB in 2017 in order to further grow the company’s business field in the 3D printing industry. Recently, BASF announced that B3DPS will be changing its name to Forward AM in time for Formnext 2019. 

As well as Sculpteo, a number of companies have been acquired by BNB, with the intention of improving BASF’s 3D printing materials production. For example, in 2017 BNB announced it had acquired Netherlands-based filament maker Innofil3D. The following year, two European material companies, Advanc3D Materials and Setup Performance, were further acquired by BNB. All three firms were subsequently integrated into the B3DPS business.

B3DPS will be exhibiting at Formnext 2019 at Booth D21, Hall 12.1, where it will be launching its new Forward AM brand, as well as an expanded product range. 

Subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter for the latest news in additive manufacturing. You can also stay connected by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry. 

Featured image shows Sculpteo package. Photo via Sculpteo.