It seems like just yesterday we were talking about an innovative 3D printing company that is making an electric car. Oh, wait. It was yesterday that we reported on the LSEV 3D-printed electric car from Italian startup XEV. That car is said to cost less than $10,000, largely because it uses only 57 parts compared to the thousands most ordinary cars require.
That story caught the interest of regular reader Steve_S, who e-mailed me a link to an article published yesterday by All3DP.com about a new $37 million 3D printing manufacturing facility it plans to build in the town of Worcester in the UK. In 2016, Siemens purchased Materials Solutions, a company that specialized in selective laser melting technologies for metal parts and super alloys as well as 3D printing for the automotive, aviation, and motor sports industries. The new factory will serve the needs of Materials Solutions customers.
Jurgen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK, says 3D printing technology needs to be embraced in order to drive manufacturing in the UK forward. “This significant investment underlines our belief that there is huge potential for innovation and growth within the additive manufacturing sector. It is also the next step towards achieving our ambition of pioneering the industrialization of 3D printing. [It] demonstrates how we are leading the way for the fourth industrial revolution,” Maier states.
The new factory will create about 55 new jobs for engineers, metallurgists, and manufacturing specialists. It is scheduled to open in September. Once the new building is completed, Siemens plans to increase the number of metal additive 3D printers it has in operation in the UK from 15 today to 50 over the next 5 years. Phil Hatherley, general manager of Materials Solutions, tells All3DP he believes the new additive manufacturing center will give the company the “space and scope to continue to innovate for these specialist and demanding industries.”
Last year, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers gave Siemens an award for its innovations in the 3D printing of gas turbine blades and parts of nuclear power plants. Siemens, like General Electric, has seen its gas turbine business collapse as renewables begin to replace conventional energy generation techniques. But the lessons learned will help the company lead the way to a future in which 3D printing will play a prominent role in reducing manufacturing costs while raising quality.