Mr. Luzius, to what extent can Additive Manufacturing (AM) lead companies to greater independence from global supply chains?
The potential of AM to become independent of global supply chains is huge. We can use the processes to rethink and sustainably improve supply chains. For example, instead of manufacturing a complex component from several individual pieces, AM often allows us to print it "in one single piece." Users also do not need to procure new molds when making design changes. This further simplifies the supply chain. TRUMPF customers also have the option of buying their powder locally from our numerous international partners, thus shortening their supply chain.
What are the current challenges when it comes to industrializing Additive Manufacturing?
Additive Manufacturing equipment has made tremendous strides in reliability and performance in recent years. As a result, component costs can be reduced, and new fields of application can be opened up. One of the biggest challenges in the further industrialization of AM lies in the software area. There are numerous offerings on the market for AM-compatible design. However, these do not often map the complete process chain - from data preparation for the machine to post-processing. This creates a break that can lead to problems, such as higher parts costs. For the industrialization of AM, TRUMPF therefore continues to focus on the employee. We offer programs and training for designing "in 3D" and enable employees to optimize the manufacturing process holistically - from powder to the finished part, partly with the help of artificial intelligence.
What role do service providers or collaboration platforms play in the industrial introduction and use of Additive Manufacturing?
Service providers play an important role, especially with technologies such as Additive Manufacturing, which are still quite young. They enable companies to get started with the technology by creating prototypes, supplying small batches and introducing them to the technology step by step. Service providers and companies that want to get started in 3D printing benefit especially from the flexibility of TruPrint systems. The systems are characterized by their ease of use, but at the same time are among the most productive in their class. This means that everything from individual parts to profitable series production is possible.