German steel and metal distributor company Kloeckner has announced a multi-million investment in 3D printing company BigRep.

Based in Berlin, BigRep are the creators of the BigRep One. The 3D printer is regarded as the largest FDM printer on the market with a build volume of 1 cubic metre. Kloeckner is a leading distributor of metals and reported sales of €5.7 billion in fiscal 2016.

BigRep at SXSW, with their BigRep One. Photo via BigRep.

BigRep at SXSW, with their BigRep One. Photo via BigRep.

According to Yahoo Finance Kloeckner has acquired a ten percent stake in the 3D printing company “for under 10 million euros.” Thereby giving BigRep a value of close to 100 million euros, however the company has not directly disclosed a figure themselves. BigRep previously received €7 million in series B funding in 2015 and this investment from Kloeckner is part of the ongoing Series B funding round.

The acquisition is part of the German metal company’s strategy of “digitalizing the supply and value chain as well as boosting higher value-added products and services,” according to Gisbert Rühl, Chairman of the Management Board.

BigRep CEO, René Gurka, commented also on digitalization, stating that the company expects “digitalization to radically alter traditional value chains.” Also stating,

Together with Klöckner & Co – the pioneer of digitalization in the steel industry – as our strategic partner, we aim to exploit this trend as we move forward.

BigRep at Hannover Messe 2017. Photo via BigRep.

BigRep at Hannover Messe 2017. Photo via BigRep.

Kloeckner will now work with BigRep to utilize their 3D printing technology, “in its extensive European and US site network going forward.” The company stating in the announcement that this area is expected to have an annual growth of 20% by 2020.

BigRep is familiar with working with large manufacturing companies as they explained last year during their pop up lab in Central London. The company has worked with car manufacturers BMW and aviation company Airbus in the past, with BigRep – suggesting they have big plans for this year – this investment seems like a good starting point.

During last years Formnext, Gurka gave details of BigRep’s plans to work with Netherlands research group, TNO. The project will see TNO and BigRep work on Printvalley. At 3D Printing Industry we are eager to see how this story develops, and with more companies announcing plans for the industrialisation of additive manufacturing it will be fascinating to see the next iteration of Printvalley.

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Featured image shows the Central Square office in Leeds that Kloeckner is developing beams for. Image via Kloeckner. 

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