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Trumpf enters joint venture for 3D printing

Above: Generative manufacturing: Laser deposition welding on a workpiece.

May 12, 2014 - Trumpf has entered a joint venture in additive manufacturing with Italy's biggest laser manufacturer SISMA S.p.A. Both partners bring expertise, human resources and capital to the joint venture. SISMA has a 45-percent stake in the new enterprise while Trumpf has a 55-percent interest. Trumpf SISMA S.r.l. is based in Piovene Rocchette near Vicenza, Italy. There, Trumpf and SISMA plan to co-develop latest generation production systems for the 3D printing of metal components.

The technology known as 'additive manufacturing' enables any component to be built up directly from a 3D design program. The parts are created layer by layer from metallic powder, using the power of the laser. The technology has the potential to partially replace methods such as milling or casting. The components are as durable and long-lasting as their conventionally produced counterparts.

Today, companies from the most diverse sectors are replacing conventional methods by qualifying components and products for additive manufacturing. In response, Trumpf is working on rapid entry into this market – at its headquarters in Ditzingen as well as together with SISMA. The two joint venture partners, with their high level of expertise in laser technology and mechanical engineering, want to provide robust and productive machines for mass production. “Many machines on the market today are aimed more at prototype construction,” explains Dr. Peter Leibinger, head of Trumpf Laser Technology. “In the future, however, the most important criterion where additive manufacturing lines are concerned will be their suitability for industrial applications.”

TRUMPF-5-12-14-2

Above: The modern headquarters of SISMA S.p.A. in Piovene Rocchette, Italy.

SISMA began development work on an additive manufacturing machine for the production of small metallic components several years ago and brings this expertise to the joint venture. With annual sales of 33 million Euro and around 1000 laser devices sold each year, SISMA is the biggest laser manufacturer in Italy. The company has around 130 employees and more than 50 years of experience in precision mechanics and industrial automation. The target markets of this innovative laser and systems supplier are primarily jewelry, fashion, dental and industry.

Trumpf is a pioneer in additive manufacturing, entering this sector in the year 2000. However, the “TrumaForm”, a universal tool for the generative manufacturing of metallic materials, was years ahead of its time since the market for serial production of components had not yet developed. At the start of this year Trumpf entered the additive manufacturing business once again, and is now benefiting from earlier development work as well as from its ever increasing expertise in the related process of laser deposition welding, which is already being used today in all kinds of sectors for repair and coating applications.

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