Back in 2015, Germany-based FIT AG invested €20 million to build a new dedicated facility in its home country, which was finally inaugurated this summer. Two years later, the company established a new subsidiary called FIT Additive S.R.L. in Romania, and made the decision to expand its activities to the US this April. Now, the technology innovator has its sights set on Russia, and is working with Russian research and engineering company NIK Ltd. to open up the country’s market for additive manufacturing with a brand new joint venture company, dubbed FITNIK, that combines the best that each company has to offer.
“By creating this joint venture, we are ensuring a robust manufacturing process, incorporating the entire chain of product creation with the help of additive technologies — from designing, according to the customer’s specifications, to production implementation, certification, and post-production support,” said NIK Ltd. CEO Alexander Korneev. “FITNIK combines the expertise of two leading companies regarding additive design and manufacturing, thereby allowing for the realization of truly comprehensive services.”
NIK was established in 1997, and is located in the National Aircraft Engineering Center in Zhukovsky, which is 30 km south of Moscow and well-known as an important aircraft R&D center in Russia. The company employs over 500 people, and provides consulting and engineering services to the aircraft industry, such as developing external equipment, installing aircraft furnishings in helicopters and planes, and fabricating aviation structures out of composite materials. NIK counts the Boeing Corporation and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) as two of its customers, and due to its proximity to several aviation institutes, has a large pool of resources available to help tackle any complex engineering issues.
FIT AG has provided rapid prototyping services since 1995, and through its FIT Prototyping GmbH and FIT Production GmbH subsidiaries, offers additive design and manufacturing (ADM). The company has had a laser focus on metal additive manufacturing recently, announcing a strategic alliance with Caterpillar to design and 3D print parts in titanium and aluminum and investing in five EOS metal 3D printing systems last month. FIT plans to use the EOS machines to make products for several industries, including medical technology, automotive, and aerospace, which brings us full circle to its newly announced partnership with NIK.The joint venture between the two companies will begin in January of 2018, and FITNIK will be strategically located in Zhukovsky, carefully chosen for its innovative environment and access to engineering talent in the aviation industry; production at the site should be operational within two years. FITNIK will combine the expertise of both its parent companies in order to manufacture breakthrough, 3D printed parts in Russia, and as FIT AG puts it, “to leverage consulting proficiencies to enhance specific design for aviation parts and components.”
Carl Fruth, founder and CEO of the FIT Group, said, “Through FITNIK, we gain incredible synergy. Not only are we able to penetrate the Russian market very quickly via access to many target markets, this joint venture also gives us the opportunity to offer our international customers qualified additive engineering at very competitive prices. We are happy to team up with NIK.”
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