German machine tool manufacturer TRUMPF announced the acquisition of its additive manufacturing joint venture with Italian 3D printer developer SISMA.
It is expected that by the end of 2021, the transaction will give TRUMPF full control of "Trump SISMA SRL", which is the laser metal fusion (LMF) 3D printing business it established together with SISMA. As part of the agreement, TRUMPF will begin selling LMF machines to users in the industrial, dental and medical sectors, and SISMA will now distribute them to customers operating in its core jewelry and fashion markets.
End of the seven-year partnership
TRUMPF SISMA was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Schio, a small town in northern Italy. It aims to develop a production system that can 3D print metal parts in industrial applications. At the time, it was said that SISMA had been working on this type of machine for several years, and the joint venture provided TRUMPF with the opportunity to re-enter the field it initially broke into through TrumaForm in 2000.
Fast forward to 2021, TRUMPF has established a strong metal 3D printing product portfolio through its TruPrint system, and SISMA has started selling its own LMF-driven machines. Given that any parts produced by these 3D printers are melted rather than sintered, they tend to have extremely rough surfaces but also have a very high (close to 100%) density, thereby enhancing their strength.
In order to enable such parts to be quickly post-processed for final use, SISMA therefore integrated this technology into its MYSINT machine. Each has a unique tilt coating system that can quickly rotate the parts upwards and then return them to the powder collection position with simple setup, thereby increasing productivity and making 3D printers attractive to industrial manufacturers.
Following the acquisition of TRUMPF SISMA (a previously held 55% equity joint venture), TRUMPF will now inherit SISMA's LMF 3D printing business. However, once the transaction is completed, TRUMPF intends to transact the business as before, continuing to use SISMA's industrial and medical customers and use its 60-employed Italian factory.
For its part, SISMA has revealed that it plans to refocus on the jewellery and fashion market moving forward, and it will now cooperate with TRUMPF to distribute LMF machines. After announcing the sale of its 45% stake in TRUMPF SISMA, the company expressed its "thanks to TRUMPF for its cooperation so far" and "looks forward to establishing a fruitful business partnership in the future."
With an estimated turnover of 3.9 billion Euros in the fiscal year of 2021/22, TRUMPF is one of the world's largest industrial manufacturers of machine tools and lasers. Although the company's products are not limited to 3D printing, because it sells everything from laser cutting machines to bending, stamping and welding systems, it has established a strong metal printing product portfolio.
Currently, TRUMPF's additive manufacturing product line includes its own LMF-driven TruPrint 1000, 2000, 3000, and 5000 machines, as well as TruLaser Cell 3000, 7040 and DepositionLine technology packages driven by laser metal deposition (LMD).
The former is designed to enable metal parts manufacturers to enter mass production and provide a cylindrical build volume ranging from 100 mm x 100 mm to 300 mm x 400 mm, while the latter can be used for 3D cutting and welding in addition to LMD, making it a This is an attractive option for those looking to automate the production of complex medium-sized components.
In the past, the company's technology was often used in the aerospace and automotive fields. For example, in July 2020, Porsche LMF 3D printing upgraded its 911 sports car with pistons. TRUMPF has also collaborated with Heraeus AMLOY to improve the cost-efficiency of additive manufacturing of ultra-light amorphous metal parts as part of its driving force to better penetrate the industrial environment.
Elsewhere, TRUMPF considered the idea of offering entry-level metal 3D printers through its One Click Metal subsidiary, but it chose to sell its business to the INDEX Group earlier this year. Now, through the acquisition of TRUMPF SISMA and its MYSINT machines, the company seems to have re-entered the low-cost field, although it remains to be seen whether it will try to expand the size of the LMF.
Make metal AM easier to use
As companies such as SLM Solutions, Farsoon, and EOS continue to introduce larger industrial-scale 3D printers, those seeking to develop metal additives may struggle to find affordable methods. Fortunately for them, companies like Xact Metal aim to solve this application problem. The company recently launched two new metal 3D printers for less than $90,000 before the Formnext 2021 trade show.
Meltio also provides an economical alternative to metal manufacturing. Its modular Meltio engine is a 3D printing unit that can be integrated with CNC machines and robotic arms for hybrid production. The company launched an upgraded LMD module in December 2020, which is said to be capable of manufacturing high-density parts from a variety of metals such as steel, Inconel, and titanium.
At the same time, in the area of electron beam melting (EBM), Freemelt has begun to use its Freemelt ONE 3D printer to develop a low-cost, open source material development method. According to reports, compared to other similar systems, fewer powders are required in the alloy identification process, and the company hopes that its machine can help speed up the identification and deployment of EBM printable alloys.
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The featured image shows the TRUMPF headquarters in Hüttinger, Germany. The photo is from TRUMPF.
Paul is a graduate of history and journalism and is keen to find exclusive news about the latest technology news.
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