AMS Spring 2023

Xerox, Siemens Collaborate to Increase Metal 3D Printing Capabilities

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Automation and digitalization leader Siemens and AM provider Xerox Elem Additive Solutions have announced a strategic collaboration, in an effort to make their metal additive manufacturing capabilities even stronger. As part of this collaboration, Siemens purchased the ElemX Liquid Metal 3D printer, which has now been installed at the company’s new Charlotte Advanced Technology Collaboration Hub (CATCH). Xerox and Siemens share a desire to go deeper into technical developments in the software, process, materials, and automation of the current ElemX printer, and any versions that come after it. The partnership between these two industry leaders will allow them to explore this together.

“Siemens and Xerox share a similar vision to advance manufacturing through creative and collaborative partnerships that collectively push us forward in the right direction. This is another important milestone for our ElemX technology, and we look forward to working with an innovative and forward-thinking organization such as Siemens,” stated Tali Rosman, the Vice President and General Manager of Xerox Elem Additive Solutions. “Together, Siemens and Xerox Elem Additive Solutions will enable our customers to manufacture parts on-demand with confidence and maximize new opportunities to improve supply chain resiliency.”

Xerox ElemX liquid metal 3D printer equipped with Siemens SINUMERIK CNC control system

When it comes to office and production print technology, Xerox (NYSE: XRX) has long been a leader. But in the last couple of years, the company has started to branch out and use disruptive technologies to help power the workforce in a more sustainable way.

First, Xerox acquired liquid metal 3D printing startup Vader Systems and began commercializing the technology last year in the form of its ElemX Liquid Metal Printer, with the US Navy as the first customer. In 2021, the company invested in 3D printing software startup CASTOR. A few months ago, Xerox Elem Additive Solutions announced an agreement with industrial manufacturer Vertex Manufacturing – A PrinterPrezz Company to offer liquid metal contract manufacturing services. Just two weeks ago, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) installed the ElemX 3D printer at its Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF), and now we’ve got this new partnership with Siemens.

As Rosman explained during AMS 2022, the ElemX system is an “easy to use metal technology,” and doesn’t need much post-processing or facility modifications. This is important when you’re trying to keep the supply chain going strong for tough industries like aerospace, defense, industrial manufacturing, and transportation. Developing supply chain solutions with distributed manufacturing to help reduce long lead times, decrease costs, and improve part performance is a main focus of Xerox Elem Additive Solutions, and a goal that will likely be improved by partnering with Siemens.

An example part that was 3D printed on the Xerox ElemX machine, powered by the SINUMERIK 840D sl control system from Siemens.

Due to their new partnership, Xerox and Siemens will likely have the chance to share opportunities earlier for improving automation software and digitalization solutions. Siemens, which also announced a partnership with Roboze this week, is the newest member of the Xerox Manufacturing Partner Network (MPN). Its CATCH facility, where a Xerox ElemX 3D printer now resides, works with material suppliers, machine builders, and end customers to industrialize AM. The liquid metal system uses aluminum wire, which keeps things less expensive, and optimizes the print process by adding the Siemens SINUMERIK 840D sl control platform, with embedded digital twin technology.

“We are pleased to join forces with Xerox and drive the industrialization of additive manufacturing through digitalization. Working together with Xerox, we’re bringing decades of proven Siemens automation experience and technology to additive manufacturing helping customers mainstream mission critical production tools for future manufacturing strategies,” said Tim Bell, Head of Additive Manufacturing, Siemens Industry, Inc.

Both Xerox and Siemens are dedicated to developing industrial AM solutions, and recognize that partnerships with other innovators can only advance this cause.

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