New Oerlikon Partnerships Set to Advance Industrial Additive Manufacturing

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oerlikon_logoSwiss technology company Oerlikon is a good example of a business that knows how to maintain longevity. They may have been in business for more than 100 years, but they’re well aware that to stay competitive and relevant, constant growth and change are crucial. Over the past few months, Oerlikon has demonstrated a steady forward momentum, expanding their facilities and acquiring companies as they sharpen their focus on additive manufacturing.

download-6This week, the company announced that they have signed two new letters of intent for the establishment of research partnerships with the Technical University of Munich (TU Munich) and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech). The partnerships will help Oerlikon to further their expansion into the field of additive manufacturing, and will leverage the expertise of all three institutions to address some of the biggest research and development challenges that still remain in the field.

“Innovative technology is key to our growth strategy and a distinct advantage of Oerlikon,” said Oerlikon CEO Dr. Roland Fischer. “These partnerships mark important milestones in our efforts to take a leading position in additive manufacturing, as we are seeing a growing demand for advanced components that are lighter, with embedded functionality and can benefit from the increased design freedom of AM. Additive Manufacturing has the potential to meet these requirements. With our leading expertise in advanced materials and surface technologies, we are ideally positioned to drive this technology forward.”

While 3D printing seems to be taking over almost every industry, its limitations aren’t always given the same attention as its possibilities. While case studies rave about how much money, time, and materials are saved by using 3D printing for prototyping and small batch production, the technology is still problematic when it comes to mass production on a large scale. Oerlikon and their new partners all possess a significant amount of expertise in industrial additive manufacturing, and their hope is that by working together, they can push the technology to the next level of industrialization.

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TU Munich has spent quite a bit of time in the headlines lately for its participation in advanced robotics and 3D printing research projects. The agreement between the university and Oerlikon was signed by Oerlikon’s Dr. Fischer and Professor Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Herrmann, President of TU Munich.

“In conducting research, it is integral for us to work hand-in-hand with technology companies to develop solutions for practical industrial challenges and applications,” said Dr. Herrmann. “Partnering with Oerlikon exactly adds that perspective for us to drive forward our additive manufacturing research projects and opens up opportunities for exciting future research together.”

screen-shot-2012-12-12-at-9-08-41-am-650x202Skoltech, meanwhile, has a great deal of expertise in both advanced manufacturing – including additive manufacturing materials – and simulation technology. Endorsed by Dr. Fischer and Skoltech President Professor Dr. Alexander Kuleshov, the partnership was signed in Munich along with the TU Munich agreement. Both agreements have the strong support of the State of Bavaria, which, according to Deputy Minister President Ilse Aigner, is working to become an additive manufacturing hub.

“In the name of the Board, we are proud to provide our expertise in materials and surface technologies to help advance the industrialization of additive manufacturing with two leading academic partners,” said Dr. Michael Süss, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oerlikon. “Additive manufacturing is opening up new possibilities for the designing and manufacturing of industrial products. We need to exploit this potential to sustain the competitiveness of innovation-driven industrial regions such as Germany. These collaborations are important parts of our commitment to leading industrial research. We look forward to fruitful partnerships with both universities, and I will personally support our efforts in strengthening our global network and cooperation with leading researchers and research institutes.”

Discuss in the Oerlikon forum at 3DPB.com.

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