23 September 2015
At the TCT exhibition in Birmingham, UK, taking place from 30th September to 1st October 2015 Renishaw will announce plans to open a global network of Renishaw Solutions Centres for metal 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM).
"Additive manufacturing is still mostly used in rapid prototyping applications, where the ability to build metal components direct from CAD, with no special tooling, is especially valuable," said Clive Martell, Head of Global Additive Manufacturing. "However additive manufacturing has so much more potential than this - it enables us to design and make innovative products with spectacular gains in performance and efficiency. Renishaw's vision is to make additive manufacturing a mainstream manufacturing technology, used in series production of high performance parts for aerospace, medical, automotive, oil & gas, mould & die and consumer products."
When adopting any disruptive new manufacturing technology, companies will go through a rigorous assessment process to understand the potential benefits, and to prove the reliability and capability of the production process. The investment in time, resources and equipment to achieve this can be significant.
Renishaw Solutions Centres will lower this entry barrier by providing cost-effective access to machinery, facilities and AM expertise. Equipped with the latest additive manufacturing machines and staffed with knowledgeable engineers, the Solutions Centres will provide a confidential development environment in which firms can explore the benefits that additive manufacturing can bring to their products, and quickly build their knowledge and confidence in AM as a production technology.
Each Solutions Centre will feature Incubator Cells - private development facilities containing an AM machine, design workstation and all the ancillary equipment needed to design, build and refine a new product design. As the product and process design matures, Renishaw will also provide pre-production capacity where the productivity and capability of the AM process can be established. Renishaw will provide support in the form of operators and applications engineers, as well as access to a range of machining, finishing, treatment and metrology processes.
"Whilst additive manufacturing can create complex geometries in a single process step, some level of finishing is generally required to produce functional products," said Marc Saunders, Director - Global Solutions Centres. "Renishaw's knowledge of metrology, machining and finishing processes can help customers to develop an integrated manufacturing solution for their innovative new product."
The network of Renishaw Solutions Centres will open during the final quarter of 2015 and the first half of 2016, and will include facilities in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, India and China.
Renishaw is one of the world's leading engineering and scientific technology companies, with expertise in precision measurement and healthcare. The company supplies products and services used in applications as diverse as jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to dentistry and brain surgery. It is also a world leader in the field of additive manufacturing (also referred to as 3D printing), where it is the only UK business that designs and makes industrial machines which 'print' parts from metal powder.
The Renishaw Group currently has more than 70 offices in 33 countries, with over 4,000 employees, of which 2,600 people are employed within the UK. The majority of the company's R&D and manufacturing is carried out in the UK and for the year ended June 2015 Renishaw achieved sales of £494.7 million of which 95% was due to exports. The company's largest markets are the USA, China, Germany and Japan.