In the latest sign of resurgent M&A activity in the additive manufacturing (AM) sector, Xerox Holdings Corporation announced that it has sold Elem Additive Solutions, Xerox’s metal AM subsidiary, to ADDiTEC, based in Palm City, Florida. The financial details of the sale, which comes about ten months after Xerox announced the decision to scale back Elem Additive, were undisclosed.
Despite halting Elem Additive’s new activities once layoffs began, Xerox told 3DPrint.com at the time that it was still planning to support existing installations of the ElemX liquid metal printer with maintenance services, something which is one of Xerox’s greatest strengths. Xerox originally acquired ElemX technology, the basis for the whole Elem Additive venture, when it bought metal 3D printing startup Vader Systems in 2019.
While Elem Additive’s standalone existence may have been short-lived, the business nonetheless proved to be ahead-of-the-curve during its brief history. In February 2021, the company announced a strategic partnership collaboration with the Naval Postgraduate School, which came to fruition in July, 2022 when the ElemX 3D printer became the first platform to successfully print a metal part on an at-sea naval vessel, the USS Essex. Since then, the US Navy has significantly accelerated its use of 3D printing on actively deployed vessels, including the first permanent installation of a metal printer, on the USS Bataan, in November, 2022.
Notably, one of the companies involved in making the Phillips Additive Hybrid platform used on the USS Bataan is Meltio, a Spanish 3D printing OEM that commercialized technology originally developed by ADDiTEC. Over the last year, ADDiTEC has made a heightened effort to rapidly develop deployable platforms, suggesting that the success of the ElemX in this regard could be a key to the company’s scale-up goals. Aside from the focus on deployability, the fact that ADDiTEC platforms and the ElemX both use metal wire feedstock to create liquid melt pools makes the Florida-based OEM a more or less ideal buyer.
In a press release about ADDiTEC’s purchase of Elem Additive Solutions, the CEO of Xerox, Steve Bandrowczak, said, “The Elem Additive team has seen tremendous success since the organization was stood up nearly four years ago. In evaluating partners for this sale, it was critical we found a company with a shared mission that would sustain and advance Elem Additive’s innovation into the future. We are confident that ADDiTEC is the right partner and look forward to witnessing both teams’ shared success on the roads ahead.” Brian Matthews, the founder and CEO of ADDiTEC, said, “We’re very excited for Elem Additive to join our team. We saw incredible value in Liquid Metal print technology and Elem Additive’s success supplements our growth efforts as we continue to develop new offerings and bring to market our turnkey metal [AM] systems.”
I think this is a great move for both parties. Xerox found one of the only companies truly capable of maximizing the unique value of the ElemX platform, and ADDiTEC can now count among its customer base organizations like the US Navy, Siemens, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Moreover, ADDiTEC’s strategic location on the Florida coast gives it access to a host of potential clients across the government-driven R&D space. With the recently announced push by ASTRO America — an organization with a strong Florida presence — for an AM Forward-centric small business investment fund (SBIF), this is a bold move by ADDiTEC that could lead to a huge long-term payoff.