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From Mining Gear to Fuel Tubes for Nuclear Power Plants, Swedish Firm Sandvik Invests in 3D Printing

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s1Lately it seems as if everyone wants a hand in the 3D printing/additive manufacturing space. We have seen both the number of 3D printer manufacturers and the number of companies turning to 3D printing as a means for more robust manufacturing methods increase dramatically over the last couple of years. In fact, the market has outpaced even some of the most optimistic predictions by analysts as of late.

One company that refuses to be left behind is Sweden’s Sandvik, a leader within the global materials technology industry. The company employs over 47,000 individuals in 130 different countries, and realized over $10 billion in sales in 2013 alone. Founded in 1862, Sandvik has a strong history of quickly adapting to new technologies. After all, how else could they have managed to survive for over 150 years?

Additive manufacturing is the latest technology they will be adopting, as they have just announced a major initiative to drastically boost their research spending into 3D printing. They ares3 currently in the process of hiring staff for a brand new 3D printing research and development center, located in Sandviken, Sweden. In doing so, they will examine the possibilities of using these up-and-coming technologies for everything from their production of fuel tubes for nuclear power plants to drill rigs for mining.

“We’re taking this to another level,” stated Mikael Schuisky, operations manager for additive manufacturing at Sandvik. “We’re making a focused strategic push to research this for the benefit of the entire group. What is attractive about 3D is the new way of thinking. We are used to thinking that objects are processed out of a material. We need to start thinking about starting from a blank canvas.”

Sandvik already produces metal powders used within 3D printers under the Osprey brand name; however, the company wishes to expand their scale and scope within the industry, perhaps putting them in direct competition with other European firms like Germany’s Siemens, which has also just ramped up their 3D printing budget recently.

It’s truly remarkable to watch as the additive manufacturing industry continues to expand rapidly. When companies of Sandvik’s scale begin investing heavily into this industry it’s great for everyone involved. Let’s hear your thoughts on yet another major player entering the 3D printing space. Discuss in the Sandvik Additive Manufacturing forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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