3D Systems is buying a majority stake in a French manufacturer of 3D printers, Phenix Systems, a move that will expand its position in the additive manufacturing sector – including new applications that support (or compete with) metalcasting operations.

No price was revealed for the 80% stake that 3D Systems is acquiring, though it stated the maximum price would be 13 euros/share. That is estimated to represent $20 million. The purchase is expected to close in July, and 3D Systems stated it intends to launch a takeover bid for the remaining 20% of Phenix Systems after the initial deal is final.

Phenix Systems, headquartered in in Riom, France, designs and manufactures printers that produce metal parts using direct metal laser sintering technology, or DMLS. The process converts a CAD design of a part into .stl file format. This information is read as “layers” by the printer, which fuses metal powder using a fiber-optic laser, and deposits layer after layer of the fused metal to recreate the design in three dimensions.  

Whereas different additive manufacturing technologies can be used to produce molds, cores, and prototypes, DMLS may be used to manufacture some finished parts.