Numerous important innovations over the last several years, from on-demand medication and better prosthetics to engine components with fewer parts and autonomous vehicles, would not have been possible without the use of 3D printing. The technology goes hand in hand with Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution, consisting of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing.
Many companies are working hard to get in on fast-moving Industry 4.0, including Marchesini Group, which is headquartered in the Bologna province of Italy. The company just acquired 48% of SEA Vision, which creates vision and inspection systems used for drug anti-counterfeiting and quality control. The strategic agreement, valued at €125 million, consolidates many years of collaboration between the two companies.
“We have been dealing with the themes of Industry 4.0 for almost 20 years, even before they became fashionable. The agreement will allow us to create packaging machines that are even more integrated with the SEA Vision inspection systems, so as to guarantee our customers a product that can be classified in all respects as well 4.0,” said Pietro Cassani, CEO of Marchesini Group, in a translated quote. “With this acquisition, we want to become an absolute reference in these issues, fundamental for the pharmaceutical companies we work with.”
SEA Vision is a leader in developing software for vision systems, and is rapidly expanding in both its number of employees and finances, which makes it valuable in the eyes of companies in the US, North Africa, China, Russia, Brazil, and the EU that are working on the mandatory serialization of medicines.
“I have always thought…that the best definition for Industry 4.0 was an application of digitization to manufacturing. A seemingly simple formula that opens up a world of challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs, some of which have yet to be understood and implemented,” said Maurizio Marchesini, the Chairman of Marchesini Group, in a translated quote. “Also thanks to the SEA operation we will be able to give a more concrete meaning to this great revolution of our times.”
3D printing has been very useful when it comes to serialization, as the technology can create unique identifiers for products, and medication, such as serial numbers, RFID tags, bar codes, watermarks, and QR codes.
Though Marchesini Group now owns nearly 50% of the company, SEA Vision will continue to be managed by its founders and hold on to its commercial and technical independence.
In a translated quote, SEA Vision President Luigi Carrioli said, “I am proud that the Marchesini Group has recognized the high technical value of our applications in the industrial field. This operation will give us a further boost to develop new technologies and products within the 4.0 industry.”
“We are thrilled to be able to drive SEA Vision in this strategic partnership for our company towards new markets and face increasingly complex challenges with the support of a world leader in the packaging lines sector,” said Michele Cei, SEA Vision Co-Founder and CEO, in a translated quote.
Marchesini Group is continuing its commitment to Industry 4.0 by inaugurating a new facility completely dedicated to 3D printing technology, which is, according to the company, “one of the main ‘declinations’ of the Industry 4.0 paradigm.”
The new facility, which is the center of the company’s Industry 4.0 efforts, will hold several 3D printers which are currently being used by the company, along with several new systems that will be hard at work 24 hours a day to rapidly 3D print machine parts and prototype samples. Marchesini Group’s new 3D printing facility will allow customers to monitor error handling, machine wear, and production planning, as well as control manufacturing costs.
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