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Moog buys majority stake in 3-D printing firm

Moog Inc. is branching out into 3-D printing.

The Elma motion control equipment maker has acquired a majority stake in a Michigan company that specializes in metal additive manufacturing – an increasingly popular technology used to build precision parts and instruments. Terms were not disclosed.

The deal to acquire Linear Mold and Engineering gives Moog a 70 percent stake in the Livonia, Mich., company, which employs 120 people. Moog has an option to acquire the remaining 30 percent of Linear.

Additive manufacturing, sometimes called 3-D printing, can create parts by building them one layer at a time – the opposite of conventional production techniques that cut and shape a larger chunk of material into the desired item. The technology allows manufacturers to build intricate parts that would be much more difficult – or impossible – by conventional means. The process builds a part by adding layer upon layer of material, rather than cutting it from a block of material.

“We see significant potential for metal additive solutions in our core markets – aerospace, defense and industrial applications – in addition to the markets and customers that Linear is already serving,” said Sean Gartland, Moog’s vice president of strategic growth initiatives, in a statement. Many of Linear Mold’s customers are in the automotive, aerospace and medical markets.

Moog said it does not expect the acquisition to have any impact on its earnings during the current fiscal year.

Linear Mold, which this year launched a 17,000-square-foot expansion of its four-building Michigan complex, had $21 million in sales during the 12-month period that ended in September.