Lincoln Electric acquires Baker Industries for additive manufacturing business launch

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: LECO), an American multinational manufacturer of welding products has confirmed its intent to launch a metal additive manufacturing service in mid-2019. On April 1, 2019, Lincoln Electric acquired Michigan-based tooling supplier Baker Industries, Inc. that provides polymer and metal additive manufacturing capabilities, alongside traditional machining and fabrication.

Commenting on the acquisition Christopher L. Mapes, Chairman, President and CEO of Lincoln Electric, said, “We are pleased to welcome Baker Industries to Lincoln Electric and to our automation portfolio’s new additive manufacturing platform.”

“Additive manufacturing is a key strategic growth area in automation, and Baker’s expertise and capabilities will assist in scaling our additive manufacturing services and expand our presence in attractive aerospace and automotive end markets.”

Almost three decades of tooling expertise 

Founded in 1992 as Baker Duplicating, Baker Industries is a specialized tooling supplier for Tier-1 aerospace providers and automotive OEMs. From humble beginnings using second-hand machines, the company has grown its services and sites covering 4 locations within the U.S., and the gamut of production requirements from part design through to quality assurance.

The company’s 3D printing capabilities are fulfilled by a fleet of Stratasys 900MC 3D printed, a Fortus 400MC and two EOS M290 DMLS systems.

Inside the 3D printing lab at Baker Industries. Photo via Baker Industries
Inside the 3D printing lab at Baker Industries. Photo via Baker Industries

Large scale 3D printing as a service

Lincoln Electric is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and has 60 manufacturing locations, across 19 countries. The company specializes in the development and manufacture of arc welding systems and plasma cutting equipment, including a range of automation equipment. The new additive manufacturing service to be offered by the company later this year will expand Lincoln Electric’s automation expertise, and leverage core competencies in software development and metallurgy.

Alongside Baker, Lincoln Electrics’ additive manufacturing service will be supported by a new a new additive manufacturing development center in Cleveland. The company also says that its services will be capable of producing large-scale metal parts, with the use of a robotic arm.

Lincoln Electric automated additive manufacturing. Photo via Lincoln Electric
Lincoln Electric automated additive manufacturing. Photo via Lincoln Electric

Traditional welding meets additive manufacturing 

This is not the first time a traditional welding company will have entered additive manufacturing. One notable convert is Chicago’s Sciaky Inc. which specializes in electron beam welding and additive manufacturing. Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), as provided by WAAM3D, is also derived from traditional welding processes.

Full terms of the Lincoln Electric’s acquisition of Baker Industries remain undisclosed. With the addition of Baker Industries however, Lincoln Electric’s automation revenue is approximately $500 million in annualized sales. Recently, for FY2018, Lincoln Electric reported a net income of $287.1 million. Previously, the company also contributed capital to the $12.9 million series B financing of Boston metal 3D printer developer Digital Alloys.

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Featured image shows HyperFill™ high deposition welding at Lincoln Electric. Photo via Lincoln Electric