Hong Kong-listed China Everbright Limited (CEL) has made an investment into a metal additive 3D printing company XJet Ltd, which claims to be the first direct 3D metal inkjet-based jetting system manufacturer for metal parts globally, using patented nano metal jetting technology. The technology was first revealed to the industry in November 2015.
XJet was founded by Hanan Gothait, the firms current CEO and a serial entrepreneur and veteran of the inkjet printing industry. Gothait co-founded Objet Geometries, which merged with Stratasys. To date, the firm is established in the Israeli city of Rehovot and has 66 staff, with more than 50 registered and pending patents.
Gothait remaked: “This additional round of funding is another vote of confidence in XJet and will ensure our position as leader in the 3D metal printing arena. We believe that XJet will redefine major areas of production through its short-run production of complex metal parts.”
He added, “Furthermore, the participation of a leading private equity fund such as the Catalyst CEL Fund as well as the global leader in 3D design software Autodesk further shows the investors’ faith in XJet’s innovative three-dimensional technology.”
Led by China Everbright’s Catalyst CEL Fund – a dedicated Israel-China private equity (PE) fund jointly managed by teams of Catalyst and CEL – XJet secured a $25 million funding round, with $10 million from XJet. The transaction will see Yair Shamir, managing partner of Catalyst CEL Fund, appointed as chairman of XJet’s board.
In response to the investment, Shengyan Fan, the head of the Merger & Acquisition Department at CEL and managing partner of Catalyst CEL Fund noted: “XJet is another great example of Israel’s innovation and entrepreneurs developing disruptive and leading-edge technology with a significant global potential.”
Other investors in the round include NASDAQ-listed Autodesk, Inc., which is a global provider of 3D design software in the engineering and manufacturing industries, as wel as existing shareholders. The current round of funding will be used to complete the development and for XJet’s global product launch.
The investment reflects Catalyst CEL’s focus on investing in mid-to-late stage companies in the industrials/manufacturing and technology space with a growth strategy oriented emerging markets and its focus on the Greater China market.
XJet’s proprietary metal additive manufacturing technology is claimed to enable greater resolution, quality and speed when producing metal parts, as well as facilitating increased safety by its shift away from potentially hazardous powder-based metals to liquid metal inks.This development adds to the various 3d printing techniques currently being refined further.
Termed ‘NanoParticle Jetting’ technology, it makes use of solid metal nanoparticles within a liquid suspension, liquid “ink”. Delivered as sealed cartridges, this ink, in addition to support materials, are loaded by hand into the XJet system, eliminating the need to handle metal powders.
The print heads deposit an ultra-fine layer of liquid droplets which contain stochastic metal-nanoparticles onto the system build-tray. This opens up the possibility of manufacturing complex micro-electromechanical systems, with nanoparticle metal jets as domain currently the subject of extensive research.
Commenting on the investment, Shamir, said, “XJet has a highly seasoned and experienced management team with innovative, and even revolutionary technology, which we trust will make a significant change in the production industry of sophisticated metal parts. Jointly with our Chinese partners, we hope to help the company make a meaningful market entry into the Chinese industry and production market.”
According to XJet, it plans to officially launch its technology in the US at the RAPID conference in Orlando on 17 May 2016, as well as later in the year at a major German trade show.