TÜV SÜD Becomes World Economic Forum Partner, Will Focus on 3D Printing


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German testing and certification firm TÜV SÜD will become a World Economic Forum partner engaging in platforms specialized in advanced manufacturing and production. The business will focus on four core initiatives: additive manufacturing (AM), climate protection, Industry 4.0 maturity, and smart safety. It will also contribute its expertise in future-facing issues to help develop solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

An important global player in the safety and inspections segment, TÜV SÜD took its first step in AM in 2019 after launching its industrial AM (iAM) services to help organizations stay ahead of their competition by helping them overcome 3D printing challenges while unlocking the technology’s opportunities. In 2020, TÜV SÜD created checklists that assist companies with retooling in producing high-grade medical parts, performed its first combined audit in AM for Sauber Engineering that resulted in the issue of two certificates for metal and plastics production, and has even provided several checklists for 3D printing processes to manufacturers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

TÜV SÜD’s Head of AM, Gregor Reischle, said the company will also work to fast-track the industrialisation of AM. Particularly as 3D printing technologies have proven their disruptive value across various industries during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic by filling supply chain gaps and manufacturing emergency medical components. To make this possible, he also revealed that the business is currently working with ten leading manufacturers to raise awareness of the necessary changes among policy-makers and the business world.

Aside from AM, TÜV SÜD will focus on reducing carbon emissions in production, the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI), and smart safety in connected manufacturing. With global emissions completely off target, the manufacturing sector has several initiatives to halve its carbon footprint by 2030. This coincides with the U.N.’s warnings that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by the end of the decade in order to avert catastrophic, runaway climate change. From best practice solutions and pilot projects to mitigation technologies, there are currently many projects to contribute to the planet’s overall sustainability and help ease pressure on healthcare systems by reducing the number of deaths related to air pollution, estimated at 4.2 million per year by the World Health Organization.

Although the 2030 target may be practically unachievable, TÜV SÜD is hoping its expertise and experience in international carbon footprint standards will prove enormously helpful in establishing systematic evaluation and report verification, according to Natalia Duque Ciceri, the company’s Head of Global Sustainability Services. She proposes that standardized key performance indicators are an essential foundation for reliable databases.

For the World Economic Forum, advanced manufacturing technologies, like 3D printing, are at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Image courtesy of World Economic Forum.

The company believes Industry 4.0 is a cornerstone of the digital transformation, so it actively supports the initiative to proliferate SIRI as the internationally recognized framework for smart industry transformation. Originally developed in a partnership between TÜV SÜD and Singapore’s Economic Development Board, SIRI is a diagnostic tool that companies can use to understand better the key aspects of Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts, as well as to evaluate the current state of their facilities. The SIRI assessment establishes the maturity of an enterprise and helps companies set the scale of change in their production operations and build their knowledge of the key principles underlying smart manufacturing.

As for smart safety, TÜV SÜD considers it is the main driver of smart factories in which self-organizing production is in place,  delivering customization – or “batch size one” – on demand. Detlev Richter, the business’ Global Head of Industrial Products and Head of Advanced Manufacturing, explained that the addition of new modules to production systems had previously required safety re-evaluation of the entire production network. However, by automating this process, downtime can be minimized while high safety standards can be upheld unchanged.

Essentially an international organization for public-private cooperation, the World Economic Forum engages the foremost political, business, and cultural leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. As a platform partner, TÜV SÜD joins a select group of more than 300 global industry partners closely aligned with the Forum’s commitment to shaping the future by accessing networks and experts to ensure strategic decision-making on the most pressing world issues.

The platform partnership with the Forum is a unique opportunity for the company to leverage its expertise and benefit society, stated the Managing Director and CEO, Walter Reithmaier. He also emphasized that as an impartial third-party, the business has enabled its experts to amass cross-enterprise and multi-industry knowledge that extends to country-specific laws and standards. This extensive knowledge will help the company in this new and strategic agreement.

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