Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Shine On: Trumpf Sales Stay Level at €3.5 Billion for 2020

ST Medical Devices

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Laser, machine tools and 3D printing company Trumpf reported that sales stayed level at €3.5 billion. The company’s largest markets were Germany (€580 million), China (€525 million), US (€485 million) and the Netherlands (€460 million). You’re perhaps wondering how teeny-tiny Netherlands ranks so high in Trumpf’s sales numbers. This is due to Dutch company ASML buying Trumpf CO2 laser systems for its EUV Fab technology. All told, the company made €309 million in profit.

The company reported that it saw 3.9 billion in orders come in.

Dr. Phiil. Nicola Leibinger-Kammueller

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, Chairwoman of the TRUMPF Group Executive Board, stated, “We have started the new fiscal year with stable sales and very good incoming orders. They result, among other things, from strong economic impulses from China, which come from electronics applications and the demand for our lasers for electromobility. However, there is also an unmistakable upturn in the economy in Europe, which we are registering in the machine tool sector. Nevertheless, uncertainty remains as to how the stability of global supply chains and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic will develop.”

The firm seems to be doing exceedingly well, given the circumstances. This makes their sale of a controlling interest in One Click Metal even more remarkable. If it was not needed, why not just sell a smaller stake and then control a company that could effectively cannibalize your own 3D printing offering?

In other 3D printing developments at Trumpf, the company now has the small TruPrint1000 machine, one small system for copper, then a TruPrint2000, a TruPrint3000, and a TruPrint5000. It also offers powder management tools and DED systems. Its TruLaserCell 3000 is complemented by a deposition system meant for production lines.

Now, on the TruPrint 1000. The printer can automatically remove a build plate and begin printing with a new one. The finished parts are then removed and stacked in the overflow area of the machine, meaning that a single printer can do multiple builds unaided through the weekend or night.

Given its experience in cutting tools, machine tools generally, and lasers, the company should be doing more really. It also makes VCSELs and laser diodes, the key technology that, if improved, would enable a two-million-laser technology from Seurat to work, for example. Trumpf seems to have spent a decade on the pool stairs, dipping its toes in. Given the firm’s heft and expertise, it should have a leading role in the 3D printing industry. It is a leader in most of the key components, has many of the customers that would want a 3D printer, and has almost all of the experience that is needed.

I can only assume that the company still believes that the Langer family will eventually sell EOS to it. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Because, on the one hand, they must be spending a lot of money making a lineup in systems, but, on the whole, I don’t seem them making headway in terms of excitement, sales or capabilities. They do engineer handy items and features, but the stuff that AddUp is doing to make their machines more production ready is more useful. Trumpf also doesn’t seem to be entering into the laser wars with Farsoon’s eight-laser, Additive Industries’ 10-laser or SLM Solutions 12-laser launches. And these folks make the lasers!

So, is Trumpf simply using the fact that they’re family-owned to give themselves a ten-year perspective and solid long-term plan? Or is the company up to something else? Are these machines simply development work? And is the company really working on a diode laser system? Trumpf’s Tru Diode laser machines are reportedly used in additive and the company uses them for the TruLaser DED systems. The company also makes VCSELs. Its VCSEL infrared power units are used in part heating and welding, as well. Is the company just getting the basic processing of powder down before it leaps into a two-million laser system of some kind? If it could preheat specific parts and areas and then print the entire layer at once with its own technology and knowledge, it could have one hell of an entrance into the metal 3D printing market. Is that what they’re up to?

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