Earlier this month, PrinterPrezz and its subsidiary Vertex Manufacturing announced that they were rebranding to Zeda, Inc. as part of their corporate bio growth strategy. The company represents the strengths of both Silicon Valley-based PrinterPrezz and Ohio’s Vertex Manufacturing, and their combined focus on its “customer first, product after” approach. Zeda uses 3D printing and nanotechnology to develop solutions for the medical industry, as well as the aerospace, space, and defense sector, with an overall goal of improving lives by investing in state-of-the art technologies and ideas, and innovative companies. Today, the company announced the deployment of the first of eight FormUp 350 laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) 3D printers from AddUp Inc., in order to support its continued growth in the medical and aerospace industries.
“We are pleased to be adding AddUp’s tools to our portfolio of advanced manufacturing technologies. AddUp has demonstrated a set of capabilities that enable us to address unique design and application challenges faced by our growing base of aerospace, space, and defense customers,” stated Greg Morris, once the Vertex Manufacturing CEO and now Zeda’s Chief Technology Officer.
The FormUp 350 is a modular system, with up to four 500 W lasers (each with a 3-axis optical chain), a bidirectional coating system that AddUp says enables 40% faster powder spreading cycles, and the Autonomous Powder Module, developed in partnership with AVO for a continuous powder supply. With a 350 x 350 x 350 mm build volume, it’s smaller than the production-grade FormUp 350 Evolution, but was designed to be scalable, with over 25 possible options. This first of a planned eight placements of the FormUp 350 was deployed at Zeda this month, and will be qualified to support critical defense and aerospace manufacturing, 3D printing parts using Inconel 718.
Right after announcing its rebrand, Zeda shared that it had closed a $52 million Series B financing round, bringing its total capital raised to $68 million. The company, which is based in California, is using the funds to speed up its geographic footprint and medical product expansion in the U.S. and Asia, including a new 75,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. You might remember that AddUp, the North American subsidiary of AddUp SAS, also operates out of Cincinnati, in a production facility and technical services center with a dedicated AM workspace for both DED and LPBF printers, an applications training facility, metallurgical lab, post-process machining department, and more.
More and more, we’re seeing that my home state of Ohio represents what AddUp calls “a high-growth manufacturing environment for additive manufacturing.” We’ve got America Makes in Youngstown; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, which houses both the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC); the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI); AddUp and GE Additive in the Cincinnati area, and on and on. The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) even has an install base of FormUp 350 3D printers. With all this in mind, it’s no coincidence that the Biden Administration chose to announce the AM Forward Program in Cincinnati last year. This new federal program is already making a positive impact on the national 3D printing market.
Zeda’s new advanced manufacturing facility will offer the necessary space to grow the company’s production capacity with 30 additional 3D printing systems, as well as factory space to implement over 100 tools as the business continues to grow. The company leverages experience in 3D printing aerospace parts, and process knowledge from the semiconductor industry, to offer high-quality, cost-effective AM for critical applications. Additionally, Zeda determined “unique capabilities” that are enabled with AddUp’s FormUp 350 PBF 3D printer, which will help expand the use of 3D printing in several key industries, such as regulated sectors like aerospace and defense.
“The success that Greg Morris achieved in pioneering the use of additive manufacturing in regulated industries combined with the novel approaches being introduced by the extended Zeda team represent a critical service for our customers. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to collaborate with such a veteran team in delivering high-value metal components to industry using our factory proven solutions,” said Rush LaSelle, AddUp’s CEO.
This is obviously very exciting news for AddUp, as it’s still considered a smaller player in the metal AM space. The first FormUp 350 has already been installed at Zeda’s new advanced manufacturing facility, with eight more to be deployed in the coming months. More is soon to come on this developing story, so stay tuned!