The owners of Arburg GmbH + Co. KG have purchased RepRap GmbH, a German maker of 3D printing systems for liquid silicone rubber.
While Arburg and RepRap will remain separate, the deal may boost the additive manufacturing capabilities of Arburg, which makes the Freeformer.
The Hehl and Keinath families, who own Lossburg, Germany-based Arburg, signed the purchase contract Feb. 12. Terms were not disclosed.
RepRap is based in Feldkirchen, near Munich. The firm will continue to operate as a separate company at that location, according to Arburg. RepRap's founder and managing director, Florian Bautz, will continue to run the business, with the company's 23 employees.
Officials of Arburg and RepRap had discussed how the companies could work together. Then the new owners decided to buy the startup.
The two companies have different types of 3D printing technologies. Arburg's Freeformer, introduced in 2013, runs commercially available plastics by discharging droplets of liquid plastic to build up a part. RepRap, founded in 2010, uses the fused filament fabrication process — but in 2016 added liquid additive manufacturing to its portfolio, allowing the printing of materials such as LSR.
R.D. Abbott Co. Inc. has been promoting the RepRap technology. RepRap has also worked with Dow Silicones on 3D printable LSR materials. Danish footwear maker ECCO is using the process to print LSR midsole cores for sneakers that can be customized to the individual buyer's foot structure and gait.