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3D Systems Corp. announced the purchase of high-tech French developer OptoForm SARL. The acquisition of OptoForm is expected to enhance 3D Systems’ ability to offer complete solutions for short- to medium-run direct manufacturing and rapid tooling applications. OptoForm’s technology allows the use of non-liquid photocurable materials. Their current installed machines use ceramics, metals, paste or various other composites. By incorporating this technology into its existing base, 3D Systems expects to broaden the functionality of its current and future lines of product offerings. “Our purchase of OptoForm opens up a whole new realm of opportunities in rapid tooling and direct manufacturing applications, which we see as the future of this industry,” said Brian K. Service, president and chief executive officer of 3D Systems. “As we integrate the technology, we expect to gain significant process advantages in our solid imaging systems.” Service added, “In order to facilitate an immediate market impact, 3D Systems is currently in discussions with materials partners who posses intellectual property in non-liquid and composite materials.” Andre-Luc Allanic, Ph.D., and Jean-Phillipe Schaeffer, Ph.D., have worked in the development of rapid prototyping and manufacturing machines for several years and founded OptoForm in 1997. The technology uses advanced hardware, which incorporates a highly sophisticated recoating system and a multi-blade approach to processing the glass- and metal-filled materials. These properties allow for the production of parts with the additional impact strength, durability and accuracy necessary for a wide range of direct manufacturing solutions. 3D Systems provides solid imaging products and services that substantially reduce the time and cost required to design, test and manufacture products. The company’s systems utilize patented technologies that create physical objects from digital input.
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