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Formlabs acquires Spectra, confirms renovation for 3D biomaterial production

Leading SLA and SLS 3D printer provider Formlabs has acquired Spectra Group Photopolymers LLC., the company’s primary material supplier since 2012. Investing over a $1 million into an expansion of of the company’s R&D facilities, one of Formlabs’ first actions following the acquisition will be to prepare Spectra for the production of biocompatible polymers.

The news of the deal was announced prior to the launch of the Form 3B 3D printer yesterday, which sees the Formlabs making a substantial commitment to the dental sector in a new dedicated business unit.

Speaking on the Spectra acquisition Max Lobovsky, CEO and co-founder of Formlabs, said, “Most 3D printing companies are not vertically integrated and don’t have access to their own resin manufacturing, but we believe materials are a critical component in opening up new applications, workflows and disrupting industries.”

Alex Mejiritski, president at Spectra Photopolymers, added, “Formlabs has been an excellent partner and joining forces has meant growing our capabilities,

“Biocompatibility is an exciting addition for Formlabs and Spectra, we’re looking forward to continuing our investment in innovative Formlabs materials.”

Decades of photochemical experience 

Based in Millbury, Ohio, Spectra Group Photopolymers produces custom UV curable formulations, photoinitiator packages, UV curable coatings and adhesives. The company was founded in 1991 and, in nearing 30 years of activity, it has built a catalog of more than 2,000 individual chemical compounds, this includes materials for Formlabs’ range of SLA 3D printers.

In the terms of its acquisition, Spectra will retain all of its existing customers and continue to serve requirements without interruption. Where appropriate, the company will also continue to engage in independent business developments.

Formlabs Ohio and Spectra team photo. Photo via Formlabs
Formlabs Ohio and Spectra team photo. Photo via Formlabs

Fromlabs’ dental 3D printing strategy

The first biocompatible resin from Formlabs (Dental SG) was released in 2016, with compatibility for the Form 2. Since then, the company has continued to expand its capabilities in the dental sector, adding ‘Dental Model’ and ‘Dental LT Clear’ to its material portfolio in 2017, and forming sector-specific partnerships with the likes of Digital Smile Design and Voodoo Manufacturing. This strategy has finally culminated in the creation of Formlabs Dental, and the Form 3B made specially for dentists.

Presently, Formlabs more than ten specialist dental resins, including the new Surgical Guide Resin launched alongside the 3B. With the acquisition of Spectra, and its $1 million investment, Formlabs is poised to expand this range in the near future.

The renovated Spectra R&D facility will be seeking FDA registration. It will include an ISO 13485 certified facility for dental and medical materials development containing an ISO Class 8 certified clean room for experimentation.

Formlabs Form 3B printer in lab. Photo via Formlabs.
Formlabs Form 3B printer in lab. Photo via Formlabs.

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Featured image shows the Formlabs Form 3B printer with printed dental impressions. Photo via Formlabs.