Renowned camera manufacturer Nikon has acquired majority ownership in metal additive manufacturing specialist Morf3D. This move is very much in line with Nikon’s Next Generation Project Division which was established back in 2019. The Division was created to help the company expand its reach into new material processing technologies in order to help grow the company amidst its declining financial health. The deal is estimated to be worth $91 million and will give them seats on Morf3D’s board of directors. It is expected that the move will likely allow Nikon to gain a foothold in the growing satellite manufacturing industry where it can provide its expertise in optics and semiconductors in addition to 3D printing.
Yuichi Shibazaki, Nikon’s Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Next Generation Project Division, said, “Morf3D has proven leadership in metal additive technology, a strong innovation pipeline, and highly specialized aerospace manufacturing qualifications. In addition, it brings together a team. of experts used to collaborating with customers to meet their unique requirements. This combination is well-aligned with Nikon’s vision of accelerating the industrialization of AM through innovation, and we look forward to working together”.
Morf3D provides specialty additive services like design analysis, and they apply their expertise in serial 3D printing production to provide aerospace clients the tools they need to create functional parts. The California based company was established in 2015 and has been most recognized for servicing top level aerospace clients like Boeing in the creation of 3D printed aluminum and titanium components for satellites and helicopters. Boeing said Morf3D’s software combined with its engineering expertise had “significantly reduced mass, and increased the performance and functionality of manufactured parts.” Morf3D has also worked with Honeywell, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Collins aerospace.
Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D, said: “Nikon’s investment and cutting-edge technology accelerates our position in the field of innovation in advanced manufacturing for the aerospace, space, and defense markets. Our partnership is well-positioned to advance the level of quality, service, and technological advances that will drive the industrialization of additive manufacturing”.
Nikon isn't alone in its pursuit of space. In 2017, rival camera company Canon sent its imaging satellite the CE-SAT-1 into orbit and was scheduled to launch another one last year but unfortunately the rocket failed to reach orbit resulting in a loss of the satellite and six other commercial payloads. What can we say, Rockets are tricky.
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