Nikon turns to space and invests $ 91,000,000 in aerospace 3D printing manufacturer Morf3D
I was wondering what Nikon would do to keep itself alive in a shrinking camera market that seems to be slowly but surely turning its back on the 103 year old company in favor of Sony and Canon. Well, it turns out they are investing in space. To be more precise, you invested in the US startup Morf3D as the main shareholder.
Morf3D is an additive manufacturing company serving the aerospace industry and serving companies like Boeing. Nikon will invest 10 billion yen (~ $ 91 million US) in the company and become a majority owner, according to Nikkei Asia. This puts Nikon in the change of offering for small satellites, a growing market in the aerospace industry.
Morf3D, based in El Segundo, California, was founded in 2015. The company mainly produces parts for satellites using 3D printing technology. Of course, this is not the typical FDM filament or resin manufacturing found on our home desktops. These are SLS techniques, where powdered metal is sintered together using optical technology Nikon has expertise in.
Regardless of how Nikon is currently doing in the camera market, they make some of the most precise optical devices used in all types of equipment from advanced semiconductor manufacturing to microscopes and other medical devices. So investing in a 3D printing company that uses this type of technology isn’t a huge challenge.
Morf3D has proven to be a leader in metal additive technology, a strong innovation pipeline and highly specialized qualifications in the aerospace industry. It also brings along a team of experts who are used to working with clients to meet their unique needs. This combination fits well with Nikon’s vision of accelerating the industrialization of AM through innovation, and we look forward to working together to deliver exciting next-generation AM solutions to customers around the world.
– Yuichi Shibazaki, Corporate VP & General Manager, Next Generation Projects Department, Nikon
Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D, says Nikon’s investment and cutting-edge technology “accelerates Morf3D’s position as an innovation leader in advanced manufacturing for the aerospace, aerospace and defense markets.” If the partnership is successful, it should bode well for Nikon. The small satellite market is projected to grow from $ 2.8 billion today to $ 7.1 billion by 2025.
Hopefully, even if cameras and photo lenses don’t remain Nikon’s main market, that will be enough to justify the cost of keeping their name in photography.
[via Nikkei Asia]