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Trumpf agrees on joint venture for 3D printing

Trumpf has agreed on a joint venture in the additive manufacturing sector with Italy's largest laser manufacturer Sisma. Both partners are bringing expertise, human resources and capital to the joint venture. Trumpf Sisma is based in Piovene Rocchette near Vicenza, Italy, where the two companies 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, and the components are just as durable and long-lasting as their conventionally produced counterparts.

Today, companies are qualifying components and products suited to additive manufacturing rather than the conventional methods used until now. To offer solutions here, Trumpf is working on rapid entry into this market at its headquarters in Ditzingen, Germany as well as in Italy 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,’ explained 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 began work on developing an additive manufacturing machine for the production of small metallic components. With annual sales of €33 million and around 1,000 laser devices sold each year, the company is the largest 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 jewellery, fashion, dental and industry.

Trumpf entered the additive manufacturing sector back in the year 2000. The ‘TrumaForm’ − a universal tool for the generative manufacturing of metallic materials − was, however, ahead of its time because the market for serial production of components had not yet developed. At the start of this year the company entered the additive manufacturing business once again, and is now benefiting from the results of earlier development work as well as from its 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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