Nov 3, 2017 | By Tess

At a recent symposium in Charleville-Mézières, France, 3D printing companies came together to discuss, demonstrate, and experiment with metal 3D printing technologies. The event was organized by French metal additive manufacturing firm Platinium 3D.

Among the topics discussed at the conference were the impact of metal 3D printing on the French manufacturing industry and overall economy, as well as new applications for the technology.

France, which is home to a number of innovative 3D printing companies including Platinium 3D, as well as metal 3D printing startup BeAM, Prodways, and Addup Solutions, a joint venture launched by the Michelin Group and Fives Group S.A, is quickly becoming a big player in the AM industry.

That is, while the European metal 3D printing market is currently dominated by German companies—such as EOS and SLM Solutions—France’s involvement in the technology and interest in advancing metal AM is gradually bringing the European country into a leading position for the technology.

"There is an entry for French industry in the field of additive manufacturing," said Jean-Camille Uring, the vice president of the Federation of Mechanical Industries (FIM). “It is an important moment to position ourselves on the market.”

Within France, an initiative has been established which is aimed at promoting the adoption and use of new industrial processes, including 3D printing, as well as robotics and digitization. Led by the Alliance of Future Industry, the initiative is aimed specifically at small businesses and SMEs.

3D printing is being positioned as a technology which can offer significant cost reductions for manufacturing companies, opening the doors for small-batch, bespoke production, as well as quicker turnaround times for prototypes, and more optimized structural design for parts.

BeAM's new Modulo metal 3D printer

"We are at a tipping point, companies are in high demand, they are discovering what this technology can do for them," commented Hubert Mongon, UIMM Director General.

And the initiative seems to be working, as Strasbourg-based BeAM has reported an increase in sales for its metal 3D printing systems. The metal 3D printing company, which very recently announced an increase in capital of 1.6 million euros, has deployed fifteen of its metal 3D printing systems and says it plans to deliver five more 3D printers by the end of this year.

The company will also be presenting its latest machine, the “Modulo” five-axis LMD/DED 3D printer, at the upcoming formnext 2017 expo in Frankfurt.

Still, there are some hurdles to overcome with metal 3D printing technologies. Namely, that the technology is not quite prepared for mass production applications. This is largely due to the technology’s high price as well as manufacturing speed.

"We are still far from the big leagues,” said Charles de Forges, CEO of Spartacus 3D, an aerospace and automotive 3D printing specialist. “There is a know-how to develop and a problem of competitiveness.”

"The machines you have on the market are machines whose main objective is the production of prototypes and pre-series parts. The real transition to industrialization will be in the next 2 to 3 years," predicted Uring.

FormUp metal 3D printer by AddUp Solutions

Still, with many of France’s additive manufacturing companies coming together in Charleville-Mézières to discuss the future of the industry within the nation, we would not be surprised to see more exciting AM-related news coming from France.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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