We were very excited about the push button metal 3D printing market that we identified in 2021. We basically noticed that there was a huge shift in the affordability of metal 3D printing systems and we described it in a series of articles. Away from the 12-Laser Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) systems and the hype around metal binder jetting, we have seen new machines come to market that have defied expectations.
These include Meltio’s accessible low-cost direct energy deposition systems, as well as value-added L-PBF 3D printers that have significantly reduced machine costs. Machine costs represent a large portion of the overall cost of parts. By requiring an investment of approximately $2 million to install an L-PBF machine, the number of companies that can adopt metal 3D printing is severely limited. But One Click Metal, with its easy-to-use laser system, challenged the conventional investment image. Another valuable engineering system came from Laser Metal Innovations (LMI). LMI subsequently obtained an investment from the venerable firm of Kurtz Ersa. This German family-run machine builder was founded in 1779 and is today one of the leading producers of electronic manufacturing equipment, such as welding systems, EPS molding machines and casting equipment. Kurtz Ersa invested in LMI with the aim of globalizing its offering and growing the business.
Today, the company distributes its 3D printers via Würth. Würth Additive Group, will now offer the Alpha 140 3D printer. The company describes the machine this way: “The fiber-coupled diode laser of the Alpha 140 is guided coaxially to the powder bed, allowing a constant focus diameter over the entire building space and creating optimum properties for metal processing. Through innovative re-engineering, they removed up to 40% of the cost of the machine and a historic point of failure seen on other systems, making it a true machine out of the box. »
“Partnering with Würth Additive Group will give Kurtz Ersa Inc. a significant boost in bringing Alpha 140 to the US market and Würth customers. The extensive knowledge and experience in metal 3D printing brought by Würth Additive Group, combined with Kurtz Ersa’s track record of producing cutting-edge technology and world-class service, will enable us to enhance the capabilities and support of our customers,” said Albrecht Beck, President and COO. Kurtz Ersa America.
The Würth Group is a huge German family business specializing in almost every element of the industrial supply chain. With $15 billion in revenue, the company distributes over 400,000 parts worldwide and has rapidly increased its investment in 3D printing since 2020. It started with a Print Services Distribution Agreement 3D Markforged, which was followed by offering digital inventory services for the oil giant. Baker Hughes. In 2021, Würth started distributing Arburg Freeformer 3D printers in North America.
“Kurtz Ersa has been creating well-constructed, durable products for over 200 years. The innovations they have brought to the market since 1779 are remarkable, from their initial water hammer business, to welding, to molding equipment, they truly understand the needs of a manufacturing environment, and we are excited to introduce this innovation and technology. to our customers,” said AJ Strandquist, CEO of Würth Additive Group.
The fact that they talk about digital inventory and additive manufacturing is significant in itself. This is a huge logistics and parts company that has entered our market with an increasingly diverse additive manufacturing offering. For Kurts Erza, it is an excellent partner with which to extend its offer to North America. The North American group Würth alone achieves revenues of more than 1 billion dollars.
“Kurtz Ersa and Würth have a long and successful history as a customer and supplier. By reinventing inventory management as a status quo, we can reduce costs, not by cutting corners, but rather through clever engineering. We are pleased to help our customers with more efficient and cost-effective inventory solutions,” said Dan Hill, General Manager of Würth Industry North America.
What potentially makes it much more impactful is that the Alpha 140 can be installed with all the conveniences needed for less than $200,000. This greatly reduces the investment required and means that hundreds of thousands of companies can now potentially purchase a metal 3D printer capable of manufacturing L-PBF parts. This could potentially significantly expand the 3D printing market. Indeed, if Kurtz Ersa can achieve significant volume, then it may be able to move up and increasingly penetrate the EOS-held market into more sophisticated systems. Even if not, it could generate significant revenue and make our market much larger than it is.
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