History of Prodways Group

The origins of PRODWAYS

In the early 1990s, André-Luc Allanic, a world specialist and 3D printing pioneer, was working on innovative technologies (including stereolithography, metal and polymer powder sintering). He developed some of the first European 3D printing systems for the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Laser 3D, a company he joined in 1993. The stereolithography machines he designed at the time were the fastest on the market.

In 1997, André-Luc Allanic formed his own company – Optoform – and developed revolutionary systems. He sold the company to 3D Systems in 2001.
2007 and the arrival of the new generation of DLP® microelectronic chips offered new opportunities for André-Luc Allanic to realize his vision: he combined a DLP® chip with a high-power UV diode (LED) to design the most accurate and fastest 3D printers on the market. MOVINGLight® technology was born. André-Luc established PHIDIAS TECHNOLOGIES to market new machines based on this technology.

In 2013, André-Luc Allanic met Raphaël Gorgé. André-Luc Allanic was won over by the idea of partnering a French industrial group with a strong technological culture. Raphaël Gorgé quickly got the measure of the technological leap offered by MOVINGLight® technology, as well as the resources at GROUPE GORGÉ’s disposal to roll out the innovation in the international market.

 

In May 2013, GROUPE GORGÉ acquired PHIDIAS TECHNOLOGIES and the company was renamed PRODWAYS.

 

In 2014

In April, GROUPE GORGÉ formed PRODWAYS GROUP, which acquired the DELTAMED company, a key player in materials for 3D printing. This acquisition opened up the possibility for the Group to master and capture the whole of the value created by the machine-material combination for the applications developed by it.

In July, PRODWAYS GROUP took a 20% stake in DENTOSMILE, a French 3D printing manufacturer of transparent orthodontic trays.

In December, GROUPE GORGÉ tendered its PRODWAYS shares to its subsidiary, PRODWAYS GROUP, which became the head of its “3D Printing” division.

During 2014, PRODWAYS established a distribution network with six partners covering the United States, Europe and Asia.

 

In 2015

In February, PRODWAYS opened a US subsidiary (PRODWAYS AMERICAS) to provide local support for its American customers, particularly for after-sales advice and technical support.

In March, the Group stepped up its strategy with two acquisitions to provide it with a comprehensive range of multi-technology services for its customers:

  • the acquisition by PRODWAYS Group of INITIAL – the leading independent French manufacturer of parts through 3D printing, and
  • the acquisition by PRODWAYS of the assets of NORGE SYSTEMS – a UK start-up specializing in the design of 3D printers using plastic powder sintering technology.

In June, PRODWAYS GROUP issued ORAs (bonds redeemable for shares) subscribed by FIMALAC DEVELOPPEMENT, providing the Group with new resources to support its industrial projects.

In September, the signature of a technology partnership agreement with Chinese company HUNAN FARSOON to develop a new premium printer line, “PRODWAYS powered by FARSOON”, based on plastic and metal powder sintering technologies, marked a first step in its positioning as a serious alternative to the market leaders. At the same time, PRODWAYS GROUP took a 45% stake in the Texan service bureau company, VARIA 3D, HUNAN FARSOON’s long-standing commercial partner. VARIA 3D offers service bureau activities, machine maintenance and technical machine upgrades, with significant expertise in selective laser sintering.

In November, PRODWAYS GROUP acquired EXCELTEC, a company specializing in the development and sale of premium polymer materials specifically designed and optimized for powder sintering, especially for industrial applications. This acquisition consolidated the Group’s position in powder sintering technology with a full range of premium printers and materials to provide a complete solution for all market needs, and confirmed its ambition to establish itself as a benchmark player and the new alternative to the current leaders in this technology.

Again in November, PRODWAYS GROUP announced the launch of its Aeronautics and Space division, PRODWAYS Aerospace. This division offers a comprehensive range of additive manufacturing services for the aerospace industry, covering: the design of tooling and embedded parts; the manufacture of finished plastic and metal parts; the development of machines and materials across all 3D printing technologies.

 

 

In 2016

January saw PRODWAYS GROUP take control of PODO 3D, a start-up established by a chiropodist to develop a 3D printing and modeling solution for plantar orthoses.

In May, PRODWAYS released the first industrial powder-sintering printer for under €100,000. The new printer combined NORGE SYSTEMS’ products with the expertise of PRODWAYS R&D teams in powder sintering technology. The ProMaker P1000 completes the “PRODWAYS powered by FARSOON” range in the industrial segment and marks PRODWAYS’ ambition to make industrial plastic powder laser sintering performance accessible to a wider market to facilitate innovation and the development of new applications.

May also saw the PRODWAYS GROUP launch “INITIAL – Les Créations”, a division specifically formed to focus on the luxury, design, art and architecture segments, an important market for INITIAL.

In June, PRODWAYS GROUP established the company CRISTAL to take over the assets of a French dental laboratory (laboratoire SOCA) with the aim of accelerating the development of 3D printing applications in the dental sector.
In November, PRODWAYS GROUP announced several strategic partnerships with BASF, A. Schulman and Arkema to strengthen its powder sintering range.

In December, André-Luc Allanic, co-founder of PRODWAYS and R&D Director, was awarded the Engineer of the Year prize by the editorial jury of Usine Nouvelle magazine. The award recognized André-Luc Allanic’s contribution to technological progress in additive manufacturing.