TRUMPF Joint Venture Developing Metal 3D Printing System

TRUMPF has agreed on a joint venture in the additive manufacturing sector. The partner is Italy's biggest laser manufacturer SISMA S.p.A., which has a 45-percent stake in the new enterprise while TRUMPF has a 55-percent interest. Both partners are bringing expertise, human resources and capital to the joint venture. 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 of partially replacing methods such as milling or casting. The components are just as durable and long-lasting as their conventionally produced counterparts.

Today, companies from the most diverse sectors are qualifying components and products suited to additive manufacturing rather than the conventional methods utilized until now. To offer solutions here, 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 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."

Several years ago SISMA did begin work on developing an additive manufacturing machine for the production of small metallic components - and the Italian company is bringing 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 can look back on over 50 years of experience in precision mechanics and industrial automation. The target markets of the innovative laser and systems supplier are primarily jewelry, fashion, dental and industry.

TRUMPF entered the additive manufacturing sector as a pioneer back in the year 2000. The "TrumaForm" - a universal tool for the generative manufacturing of metallic materials - was, however, years ahead of its time because 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 the results of 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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