EOS acquires Vulcan Labs, puts pressure on US 3D printer manufacturers

EOS, a leading AM enterprise, has acquired the Texas-based powder bed fusion (PBF) R&D startup, Vulcan Labs.

Vulcan Labs began as a spinoff of Stratasys, one of the major competitors of EOS. Stratasys established the startup as a research and innovation entity in order to develop its powder bed fusion technology (PBF) for metal manufacturing. The acquisition will see Vulcan Labs engineers lead “development and commercialization of the new Integra P 400 polymer 3D printer.”

Furthermore, many who joined the Vulcan Labs were part of the 3D printing service bureau Harvest Technologies, which had Stratasys acquired in 2014. Now the Vulcan Labs team will join EOS, bringing their expertise with them.

The Vulcan Labs team after the EOS acquisition announcement. Image via EOS.
The Vulcan Labs team after the EOS acquisition announcement. Image via EOS.

A talent jackpot and growing AM hub

With this news, EOS continues to expand its presence in North America. In 2016, EOS opened its Advanced Laser Materials (ALM) in Texas, which is focused on developing materials for PBF 3D printing. Last year, EOS partnered with LINK3D, an AM workflow service, to streamline AM production cycle for its customers in North America.

It is also important to note here that DyeMansion, a post-processing AM company funded by EOS, also has a base in Pflugerville, Texas.

Among the newly acquired team will include David Leigh, founder of Harvest Technologies, who has served Stratasys in various capacities, including as VP of Engineering. Leigh is now the Chief Operating Officer of EOS North America.

On the acquisition of talent from Vulcan Labs, Glynn Fletcher, President of EOS North America, said, “With this acquisition, we have frankly struck the AM talent jackpot. It is rare, indeed, to find such a pool of top technical talent that can immediately bring value to our customers at such a high-level. This acquisition illustrates our commitment to providing the best support for our customers, while continuously challenging the market through internal and external disruption.”

Future of EOS in North America

The Vulcan Labs team, who already has a lot of R&D experience in PBF technology, will develop and commercialize the Integra P 400 polymer 3D printer by EOS. The Integra P 400 was manufactured in Texas. It was launched in 2018 and currently is only available in North America.

David Leigh said on the acquisition of Vulcan Labs by EOS, “The time is perfect to join EOS and Vulcan Labs […] Industrial 3D printing is still relatively new, but it has moved from the theoretical to the practical.”

But, it is possible that the integration of EOS and Vulcan Labs teams will raise some IP issue in the future. Furthermore, the impact of the partnership will undoubtedly be of interest to other EOS competitors in North America specifically Stratasys, 3D Systems and HP. In particular EOS stole a leaf from the latter’s playbook with the early announcement of Laser ProFusion one million diode laser technology at Formnext 2019.

Honeycomb-topped cap sample component from the LaserProFusion. Photo by Michael Petch
Honeycomb-topped cap sample component from the EOS LaserProFusion. Photo by Michael Petch

Leigh continued, “As organizations wrestle to integrate AM into their production chain, industry-leading experts like EOS are what will make the difference between struggle or success. That success requires a stable of experts and a robust ecosystem of partners. Vulcan Labs augments existing EOS know-how and sets us apart bringing unique, high-value solutions to our customers.”

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Featured image shows the Vulcan Labs team after the EOS acquisition announcement. Image via EOS.