TRUMPF is an important and interesting player in the world of metal 3D printing. One of the largest machine tool manufacturers in the world, the company has turned to additive manufacturing (AM). It was one of the first developers of directed energy deposition (DED) systems in 2000 before investing more in 3D printing in 2014 through a joint venture, TRUMPF SISMA SRL, with the Italian partner SISMA SpA, TRUMPF holding 55% of the shares. Now, the German conglomerate is buying the entire entity.
TRUMPF will continue SISMA’s line of Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) machines, enabling it to focus its technology on the industrial, dental and medical markets. At the same time, SISMA will continue to focus on the jewelry and fashion industry, for which it will distribute LMF systems on behalf of TRUMPF. TRUMPF SISMA is based in Schio, in northern Italy, where around 60 employees have developed LMF technology.
The news is interesting in light of TRUMPF’s sale of One Click Metal, a TRUMPF spin-out dedicated to powder bed laser melting (PBF) machines for $ 100,000. This suggests that the $ 3.5 billion German machine tool maker is sticking to industrial applications, rather than entry-level machines which might be more useful for research purposes. Meanwhile, CNC machine maker INDEX Group acquired One Click Metal.
Indeed, it seems puzzling that TRUMPF is abandoning its stake in what could be an important segment of metal 3D printing to acquire the SISMA project. Editor-in-chief Joris Peels reflected on the family business’s broader strategy in a previous post:
I can only assume that the company still believes the Langer family will eventually sell them EOS. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Because, on the one hand, they have to spend a lot of money to build a range of systems, but overall I don’t look like they’re making any headway in terms of excitement, sales, or capabilities. They design practical elements and features, but what AddUp does to make their machines more production ready is more useful. Trumpf also does not appear to be entering the laser war with the launches of eight lasers from Farsoon, 10 lasers from Additive Industries or SLM Solutions 12-laser. And these people Make lasers!
So is Trumpf just using the fact that they belong to a family to give himself a ten-year perspective and a solid long-term plan? Or is the company up to something else? Are these machines just development work? And is the company really working on a diode laser system? Trumpf’s Tru Diode laser machines are said to be used in additives and the company uses them for TruLaser DED systems. The company also manufactures VCSELs. Its VCSEL infrared power units are also used for heating and welding parts. Is the company finishing basic powder processing before embarking on a $ 2 million laser system? If he could preheat specific parts and areas, and then print the entire layer both with his own technology and his own knowledge, he could have a heck of an entry into the metal 3D printing market. Is that what they’re up to?
The financial transaction should be finalized by the end of the year. What’s next for TRUMPF? It’s hard to say, but it’s hard not to think he’s got something up his sleeves.