History

Over 25 years of expertise in 3D printing

At the start of the 1990s, André-Luc Allanic, a worldwide specialist and pioneer of 3D printing who worked on several innovative technologies (notably stereolithography, selective laser sintering and polyamide powder sintering), developed some of the first European 3D printing systems for the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) and Laser 3D which he joined in 1993. The stereolithography machines that he designed were the fastest on the market at the time. In 1997, André-Luc Allanic started his own company—Optoform—and developed revolutionary systems.  Mr Allanic’s innovations are therefore considered to have spearheaded “the future of this industry”.

The arrival of MOVINGLight® technology

In 2007, the arrival of a new generation of DLP® microelectronic chips enabled André-Luc Allanic to achieve his vision: he linked a DLP® chip with a high power UV diode (LED) to design the most precise and fastest 3D printers on the market. MOVINGLight® technology was born. In 2008, based on this technology, André-Luc Allanic created a company to manufacture and market new 3D printers. The high level of customer satisfaction and growing demand encouraged him to look for a solid industrial partner for support.

 

The meeting with an industrial player: the GROUPE GORGÉ

André-Luc Allanic and Raphaël Gorgé, CEO of the Groupe Gorgé, met in spring 2013. André-Luc Allanic liked the idea of being associated with a French industrial group having a strong technological culture and almost 50% of its business in exports. As for Raphaël Gorgé, CEO of the eponymous group, he quickly realised the leap in technology provided by MOVINGLight® technology as well as the resources that his group would be able to bring expand internationally. Beyond their shared passion for scientific research and technological innovation, the two men very quickly realised that they also had the same vision and ambition: turn Prodways into the world’s third-largest player by offering clients a range of technologies and a complete 3D printing service.

A surge in development by Prodways

With their sights set on this ambition and in just over two years, Prodways made the necessary strategic steps to be able to issue its clients with a complete offer meeting the most stringent quality requirements:

  • In April 2014, Prodways started by acquiring DeltaMed, a leading company in 3D printing materials. This acquisition enabled the group to manage and capture the creation of value in the machine/material combination for applications developed by the group;
  • In March 2015, the acquisition of Initial—an independent French leader for the manufacturing of 3D printed parts—and assets from Norge Systems—an English start-up specialised in the design of 3D printers using selective laser sintering (plastic powders)—marked the acceleration of the group’s strategy. It aimed to provide its clients with a range of technologies and a full range of services right from the creation of a single prototype part to a complete 3D printing workshop;
  • In June 2015, the FIMALAC group acquired a stake in Prodways’ capital, thus making the group’s ambition perfectly clear and providing it with new resources to support its industrial projects in the long term;
  • In September 2015, Prodways signed a technological partnership agreement with the Chinese company Hunan Farsoon Hugh-tech Co., Ltd. This partnership was created to develop a new range of premium printers based on plastic and metal selective laser sintering, “Prodways powered by Farsoon”. This marks a significant step in our position as a serious competitor to current market leaders.
  • In November 2015, Prodways announced the signature of a partnership agreement with LSS. LSS is the European specialist, provider of services, maintenance and process improvements for selective laser sintering using polymer powders. Under this partnership, LSS will contribute its maintenance, application development and R&D skills to the range of “Prodways powered by Farsoon” selective laser sintering industrial printers using polymer powders.
  • The same month, Prodways announced the acquisition of Exceltec, a company specializing in the development and distribution of polymer materials for 3D printing using selective laser sintering, notably for industrial applications. This acquisition strengthens Prodways’ position in selective laser sintering technology with a full range of printers and premium materials, allowing Prodways to propose a solution for any market problems, and confirms the company’s aim to become the new alternative to the current leaders in this technology.

 

Strong ambition: becoming the third leading player in multi-technologies

Overcoming these key stages confirmed the announced ambition to become the No. 3 worldwide leader by providing a number of technologies. But it also displays the outstanding quality provided by the Groupe Gorgé who knew to draw on their experiences from the rest of their industrial activities to allow Prodways to make faster headway than its competitors.