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Published On: Sat, Jun 4th, 2016

Fives-Michelin take 20% of the world market metal 3D printing

The joint venture of Fives and Michelin unveiled its ambitions at the Advanced Manufacturing Clermont-Ferrand Meetings show. The new specialist of metallic 3D printing, including the first machines will be delivered late 2016, has 20% market share in 10 years.

Fives Michelin Additive solutions account conquer the market of metal 3D printing at high speed. Autumn 2015, the Auvergne tyre manufacturer and the engineering created a joint company. Featured on the Show Advanced Manufacturing Clermont-Ferrand Meetings (de Dôme), 30 May to 2 June, the joint venture announced the delivery of its first printers for end of 2016, beginning of 2017.

The machines are production sites Fives de Saint-Céré (Lot) and Louisville in the United States. The site of CapdeNac (Lot) will be also requested if need more capacity. “We have already received many pre-orders,” welcomes Vincent Ferreiro, commercial Director of Fives Michelin Additive Solutions and Director partnerships for Michelin. The energy sector would be particularly interested. In addition to printers, FMAS will design and manufacture metal parts, and will propose a training and after-sales service for its machines. All sold under the brand name “AddUp”.

Industrialize 3D printing

Proposed by the joint-venture 3D printers produce parts by layers of metallic powder put in fusion by a laser. Existing technology that allows to get more complex than machining parts. But unlike these machines on the market, FMAS says that its printers are more robust. They can produce very fine pieces up to 2/10th of a millimeter of thickness. And above all they can produce many, with the same characteristics. “Our wish is to leave simple Prototyping 3D printing, explains Vincent Ferreiro. Our machines are designed to run 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, without maintenance operation.”

Interview with Jean-Camille Uring of Fives

The technology was developed in secret at Michelin for a decade, then was improved by Fives. The negative is used to produce CrossClimate and first tires. Some small pieces of mussels, those which form the furrows of tires, are printed in 3D. “We have produced a million pieces,” says Vincent Ferreiro. However, the industrialist says not yet having reached the stage of mass production.

Double workforce

Michelin is not afraid to sell its technology to other manufacturers, see to its direct competitors. But it hopes to keep its length in advance. “We expect the coup after”, assures Vincent Ferreiro. In three months, Fives Michelin Additive Solutions should begin to produce machines capable of making larger pieces.

To accelerate the growth of their joint venture, Fives and Michelin don’t skimp on ways and means. A first programme of EUR 25 million has been committed from 2015. “And we will not hesitate to invest more,” argues Vincent Ferreiro. A recruitment plan is underway. FMAS account hire 30 more people in the next 18 months, and thus doubling its workforce. The joint venture hopes to get 20% marketshare in ten years. His ambition: becoming the leader of the additive manufacturing, expects even to install a site in Asia.

Fives Michelin Additive Solutions is not the only industrial interest in 3D metal printing market. In February, Siemens announced an investment of more than EUR 20 million to develop this technology. Thales will print parts for satellites in Casablanca from here in 2018, and General Electric prints 3D its turbojet engine.