Nikon (TYO: 7731), the Japanese optics manufacturing conglomerate, announced that the company has created Nikon Advanced Manufacturing Inc., a California-based company that will begin operating in July, 2023. According to Nikon, this is the company’s first-ever business unit with a global headquarters outside of Japan.
One of the primary purposes of the new company will be to serve as an integrator of production processes leveraged from two of the company’s additive manufacturing (AM) acquisitions, SLM Solutions Group AG and Morf3D — while, at the same time, allowing each company to continue to serve its existing customer base. Nikon Advanced Manufacturing will also assume control of the company’s own 3D printing business.
In a press release about the formation of Nikon Advanced Manufacturing, Nikon CEO Hamid Zarringhalam commented, “In recent years, Nikon has executed pivotal investments and bold acquisitions focused on building a comprehensive portfolio of technology, industry knowledge and vision.”
The company’s co-CEO, Yuichi Shibazaki, said, “Nikon DED additive, subtractive and CT scanning solutions are perfectly complemented by the industry-leading L-PBF systems from SLM Solutions as well as Morf3D’s strong innovation pipeline and specialized aerospace qualifications. Nikon Advanced Manufacturing will enable us to work together with our partners and customers to unlock the incredible potential of advanced manufacturing and contribute to a more sustainable society.”
The new business unit will get started with $25 million in initial capital, and according to Nikon, it will be “customer-centric.” Presumably, this means that Nikon Advanced Manufacturing is being established to meet the needs of each individual company that Nikon serves in the US, like an in-house service bureau. Although the press release doesn’t specify where in California the company will be headquartered, it does mention that the “location provides excellent proximity to customers and partners including the aerospace, space and defense industries.” Morf3D happens to be located in El Segundo (Southern California), a hotbed for the aerospace, space and defense sectors.
The company considers this development crucial to its Nikon Vision 2030 strategy, and it is not just a big deal for Nikon, itself, but for the future of manufacturing, and for the AM sector most of all. It is extremely significant that the company’s nonstop AM activity since 2019 is culminating in Nikon spinning off its most cutting edge operations into a standalone division. It is equally significant that that company will be the first Nikon unit with a global headquarters outside of Japan.
Moreover, it is of more than symbolic importance that 3D printing is the central focus of a business with “Advanced Manufacturing” as the main element of its name. As there is starting to emerge an integration between all the various elements within advanced manufacturing, it has become clearer to those in the 3D printing industry that, to realize their full potential, additive technologies will require optimal compatibility with multiple other technological fields.
In the same way, it will soon become clear to all of the other sectors comprising advanced manufacturing that 3D printing will be the technology playing the central role in the whole new schema for industrialization. The establishment of Nikon Advanced Manufacturing is one of the first big inklings of that.
Images courtesy of Nikon
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