Additive Industries and the SMS group have entered into a cooperation that aims to develop and jointly sell AM factories on an industrial scale. Their production concept will include powder production, 3D printing, and the further steps necessary in delivering finished components.

»The entire process will be designed to maximize productivity and finally make additive manufacturing competitive in series production, « states Guido Kleinschmidt, who belongs to the SMS group's management board. In this endeavor, the Düsseldorf-based group plans to leverage its experience in designing vacuum melting systems and engineering related processes.

The starting point of the whole procedure is powder production, where pure argon is used to atomize liquid metal in an oxygen-free environment. For the SMS group, the new, industrial-size pilot unit at its facilities in Mönchengladbach, Germany, represents an important milestone. A MetalFAB1 machine is to be installed right next to this unit in order to facilitate fully integrated powder processing. Additive Industries’ MetalFAB1 will also handle the additive manufacturing at the turnkey factories the two partners are planning, which will make it possible to apply stressrelief heat treatment and automate component storage. After that, mechanical processing, quality assurance, and other steps are also scheduled for implementation.