Industrialisation of 3D printing will expand in a big way

  • Interviews
  • Dec 29,23
In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Sachin Gambhire, Associate Director - Business Development and Marketing, TRUMPF (India) Pvt Ltd, explains how 3D printing is changing the dynamics of industrial production and the company's growth plans for India.
Industrialisation of 3D printing will expand in a big way

The Germany-based TRUMPF Group - one of the world's biggest providers of machine tools - is the market leader in 3D printers as well. In the last few years, the application of additive manufacturing (3D printing) has seen big growth across industries such automotive, aerospace, aviation, medical, dental, tooling, etc. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Sachin Gambhire, Associate Director - Business Development and Marketing, TRUMPF (India) Pvt Ltd, explains how 3D printing is changing the dynamics of industrial production and the company's growth plans for India.

How is TRUMPF serving the additive manufacturing (3D printing) space? Which industries are driving the demand for your 3D printing solutions?
3D printing is particularly advantageous when complex components also need to be given special properties (for example, a prosthesis that is extremely stable but also absorbs shocks). Almost all industries benefit from this freedom in form and function. TRUMPF particularly addresses the aerospace, energy, automotive, mechanical engineering, medical and dental technology sectors. TRUMPF is the technology and market leader in 3D printers for the dental industry. It is now impossible to imagine the aerospace industry without additive manufacturing of series parts. 

Our customer Airbus, for example, uses additive manufacturing to produce components for passenger planes and helicopters. Tool and mold making also benefits from 3D printing. Designers can rethink the design of components in additive manufacturing and print geometries that cannot be implemented in other ways, such as internal cooling channels for their tools. Other industries are also discovering more and more the potential of 3D printing. One example is additive manufacturing of bicycle parts.

How is 3D printing shaping the future of industrial production?
Additive manufacturing offers following advantages: 
Conserving resources: Additive construction only uses as much material as is actually needed for the component. With subtractive processes such as milling, the scrap rate is up to 80 percent. Excess powder can be reprocessed. The printing process requires little energy. 
Lower manufacturing costs: Costs can be reduced for small quantities, complex geometries, materials that are difficult to process or prototypes because, for example, no molds need to be made. Progressive automation brings additional cost savings. Thanks to the so-called "monolithic design", entire assemblies can be printed as one component, whereas employees would otherwise have to manufacture several components individually and then assemble them.
Complex components: Designers have more freedom in terms of form and function. This enables innovative components with particularly advantageous properties. The parts have a consistently high quality (reproducibility) thanks to their digital data set. 
Weight saving: Lattice structures or cavities can be realized within a single part. The workpiece remains stable.

Is AM complementary or competing technology to conventional metal working technologies and processes?
With additive manufacturing, geometries are possible that conventional processes cannot achieve. This freedom in form and function offers potential for almost all industries. This is why additive manufacturing is both a complementary and a competing technology to conventional metal working technologies and processes. 

Our robust systems deliver repeatable results, making them particularly suitable for industrial use. This is where our experience as a machine builder and laser specialist comes in handy. The laser, together with its optics and sensor technology, is crucial for productive additive manufacturing

Could you please brief us about some of your latest launches in the 3D printing space?
TRUMPF has further increased the productivity of the TruPrint 2000. The 3D printer is now also designed for mass production. Users from all industries benefit from the machine's high productivity. TRUMPF has equipped the 3D printer with a square instead of a round build plate and increased the power of the integrated fiber laser to 500 watts as an alternative to the 300 watts laser in the basic configuration. For example, dental technology companies print up to 36 percent more removable partial dentures on the square build plate than on a comparable round build plate. TRUMPF has presented the 3D printer for the first time at Formnext 2023, the leading trade fair for additive manufacturing in Frankfurt.

What are the emerging trends in 3D printing to watch out for?
We expect that the industrialisation of AM processes, especially for metal AM, will continue to grow and expand in a big way. In the last couple of years, we have been seeing big growth in industries such as space and aviation. Now, we are also seeing a steady growth in the medical, dental, tooling and automotive industries. 

As we have begun to see already this year, consolidation in the AM industry is happening. We believe that this will continue in 2024 with the AM industry maturing. 

Productivity is King! We have made massive jumps this year and expect that in 2024 this will continue. Serial production using AM is not a dream anymore, but an everyday reality for us and our customers. Even within TRUMPF, we have 3D printers printing parts for many of our other machine tools.

How are you serving the Indian market with your 3D printing solutions? What kinds of opportunities are you looking to tap in India?
TRUMPF is present in India since 2006, through its wholly owned subsidiary, TRUMPF (India) Pvt Ltd, located at Pune with regional offices at Bengaluru and Delhi. In recent years, it has further strengthened its presence across India by opening spare parts warehouses at satellite cities located at South, West and North regions with a ‘closer to customer approach’. We have witnessed considerable growth for our machine tools and laser technology products in India, year-on-year.

For metal 3D printing machines, we observe India is an evolving market as well. The awareness, interest and technology adoption has started picking up the pace recently in the field of metal additive manufacturing. We started offering our TruPrint machines in India just a few years back and have already successfully grown our installed base across India. Our target market segments in India are customers from various industry sectors like medical implants, dentistry, aviation and aerospace, research, tool and die makers and educational institutes etc.

What are your growth plans for TRUMPF’s additive manufacturing business in India?
Often, foreign machine suppliers enter in a new country first with just sales operations and then after evaluating the demand forecast, after-sales service support network is gradually expanded. For TRUMPF in India, it is not the same case. TRUMPF India has already a well-established service and spares support, available across the length and breadth of the country for its well-known machine tools and laser technology products. 

We are consistent in working on educating the market and spreading awareness about immense possibilities that metal 3D printing presents. We are also focusing on growing our network in India to reach the untapped market potential and growing our business of metal 3D printing solutions portfolio in India.

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