UnionTech Raises $ 31 Million to Take SLA 3D Printing Success to New Heights


Industrial stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer maker UnionTech has successfully secured $ 31 million in D-Series funding, according to sources at Pandaily.

Led by Dening Capital, the investment was also reportedly backed by Cash Capital, Yingke Private Equity, Dragonrise Capital and Evonik Venture Capital, among others. Although it has not yet commented publicly on the increase, it is likely that UnionTech will use its funding as a means to boost its expansion, with the company showing an average annual growth rate of over 50% over the past ten years. years.

UnionTech’s industrial SLA technology has enabled it to attract the interest of investors like Evonik. Image via UnionTech.

UnionTech SLA Printing Portfolio

Since entering the 3D printer market in 2000 as “Shanghai Union Technology Corporation”, UnionTech has rebranded itself and has successfully grown its operations. After expanding to Europe and the United States in 2016, the company then launched its Pilot Commercial Series 3D printers at TCT 2017.

Comprised of the Pilot 250 and Pilot 450, this range of SLA machines is packed with features based on those of its existing RSPro models and offers users the ability to create large quantity parts with excellent surface finishes. These systems also retained the same easy-to-assemble platform as its predecessors, as well as their open hardware configuration, leaving them open to third-party innovation.

UnionTech has notably sought to encourage this culture of experimentation through its collaboration with what was the 3D printing division of DSM and which has now been acquired by Covestro. As part of this partnership, the company has become a reseller of several Somos, ProtoGen and ProtoTherm materials, with the impact, heat resistance and precision needed to open up new applications to UnionTech adopters.

More recently, the company’s technologies have tended to be applied in automotive environments, with C-TECH using 3D printing to improve the efficiency of their car customization, and the University’s DIAN Racing team. de Tongji turned to SLA to build their DRe21 electric racing car, and participate in Formula Student Electric China.

The different parts of DRe21.  Image via UnionTech.
TJU DIAN Racing used UnionTech 3D printing to produce 56 parts for their DRe21 racing car. Image via UnionTech.

A growth investment?

Given that UnionTech is unlisted and has not officially spoken about its latest funding round, it is difficult to determine exactly where it plans to reinvest its newly raised capital. However, Pandaily obtained figures from market analysis firm CONTEXT, which give some insight into why it has attracted so many investments.

According to Pandaily, this undisclosed report shows UnionTech’s revenue has grown by an average of over 50% over the past decade, and that figure rises to over 80% when it comes to growth. of its acquired equipment.

Likewise, these figures indicate that the company’s shipments were the highest in any of CONTEXT’s industrial grade category in the first and second quarters of 2021, while also showing that the Chinese 3D printing industry has has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 49% over the past five years. making those who operate there very attractive to potential investors.

That being said, not all of the investors that started UnionTech’s Series D funding round were new backers, and Evonik Venture Capital has been investing in the company since at least December 2020. At the time. , the venture capital firm acquired a minority stake in UnionTech, saying it planned to launch a range of SLA materials, so its investment would give it a better understanding of their end-use efficiency.

“We expect great technical advancements in the area of ​​stereolithography,” said Bernhard Mohr, Head of Venture Capital at Evonik last year. “Evonik is preparing to launch ready-to-use materials for this process. Our investment is therefore not only aimed at a profitable financial return, but above all at new perspectives in the use of this process.

Farsoon FS421M metal 3D printers installed at Falcontech Super AM Factory.  Image via Falcontech.
UnionTech’s recent growth mirrors that of other Chinese 3D printer manufacturers like Farsoon. Image via Falcontech.

China’s emerging AM industry

While parts of the broader 3D printing industry are still recovering from the impact of COVID-19, evidence suggests it’s happening most quickly in China, where the adoption of the technology is really starting to take off.

In November 2020, CONTEXT released figures suggesting that the Chinese and desktop 3D printing markets were leading the global recovery from the pandemic. While the analysis firm’s report showed a 38% drop in revenues for Western industrial 3D printer manufacturers between the second quarter of 2019 and 2020, it found a 24% increase in Chinese shipments of similar systems from the first to second quarter 2020.

Additionally, the recent sales performance of one of the country’s leading 3D printer manufacturers, Farsoon Technologies, seems to suggest that this resurgence is underway. The company posted record revenues in November 2021, bringing in $ 15 million from the sale of more than 40 machines, leading it to announce an expansion of its capacity to meet its growing demand.

Elsewhere, in desktop 3D printing, many large Chinese companies are not publicly traded, so it is difficult to assess their business progress, but Creality continues to expand its portfolios. This year alone, the company launched the HALOT-ONE, HALOT-SKY, and HALOT-LITE systems, along with its CR-SCAN 01 scanner, each designed to provide design users with high-end functionality at an affordable price.

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The image shown shows a UnionTech 3D printer factory. Image via UnionTech.