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Solid Concepts to continue operating out of SCV

Posted: April 4, 2014 12:55 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2014 12:55 p.m.

The sale of Santa Clarita-based Solid Concepts to Stratasys for $295 million is good news locally, according to an executive with Solid Concepts.

Both companies announced the deal on Wednesday.

Using 3D printing technology — or rapid prototyping — Solid Concepts is a leading manufacturer of plastic and metal prototypes and components for the medical and aerospace industries.

Minnesota-based Stratasys manufactures and installs 3D machines that Solid Concepts uses to produce parts, making the union a perfect marriage.

Founded in Valencia in 1991, Solid Concepts has some 450 employees, six factories and approximately $65 million in annual sales in 2013.

Solid Concepts will continue to operate out of Santa Clarita and will have no impact on the number of employees working locally, said Tom Vorgitch, vice president of business systems for the company.

“The only place we’re going is up,” Vorgitch said. “This is a very positive move for us.”
Stratasys also has a small number of parts businesses that it will fold under the Solid Concepts business unit, he said.

“We’re the largest service provider of this type in North America,” Vorgitch said. “It is a fantastic fit with what we do well.”

And the 3D printing market is only going to explode, experts predict.

Whereas companies once primarily used 3D printers to rapidly produce prototypes of products — in lieu of the injection molding machining that might take weeks to design a tool that would be used to make a mold in the manufacturing process — 3D printers are increasingly being put into use for production purposes.

“The trend is to do more and more production parts,” Vorgitch said. “And this industry almost started in Santa Clarita.”

While producing a part using 3D printing takes longer than in traditional manufacturing, so much time is spent designing the mold used to produce the parts that depending on volume, 3D printing technology can actually take less time replicating because the “mold” can be digitally laser designed and reproduced within hours.

“The 3D printing industry has become very hot as of late,” Vorgitch said. “There’s been a lot of press and investor interest over the last few years.”

Stratasys is a global market leader and well regarded as a public company, according to analysts.

In addition to Solid Concepts, Stratasys also announced it will buy Texas-based Harvest Technologies, an additive manufacturing service bureau.

Stratasys executives said they worked nine to 12 months to buy Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies.
Solid Concepts President Joe Allison will join the Stratasys management team and lead the combined parts business.

“We are excited to be joining forces with Stratasys,” said Allison. “Becoming part of a larger company with a broad customer reach and market coverage will position Solid Concepts to meet the significant demand for its additive manufacturing offerings.”

The transactions are expected to be completed early in the upcoming third quarter.



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