Siemens and Stratasys partner to move additive manufacturing into volume production

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Stratasys Stratasys Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator unveils a hybrid approach for automated composite part production.

With an eye toward incorporating additive manufacturing into the traditional factory workflow, Siemens AG is partnering with Stratasys Ltd., the maker of 3-D printing machines.

The companies have forged a formal partnership to integrate Siemens’ Digital Factory products with Stratasys’ additive manufacturing equipment and materials.

They announced the news at the Formnext 2016 show, held Nov. 15-18 in Frankfurt, Germany. At the show, Stratasys did 3-D printing at its booth on a Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator. Siemens ran its software for additive manufacturing, along with its scalable hardware platform for motion control and manufacturing processes.

Terry Wohlers, an expert on additive manufacturing from Wohlers Associates Inc., said the announcement was interesting.

“Siemens has strengths in machine control technology and design software. Stratasys brings extensive experience and a large installed base of customers in additive manufacturing,” Wohlers said in an email response to questions. “Together, they have the potential to impact the market in a bigger way than if they were to tackle it alone. So, I'm excited for both companies and look forward to seeing the commercial impact of the collaboration.”

The companies think the aerospace, automotive and tooling industries will be the first to benefit from using additive manufacturing in full production environments.

Siemens and Stratasys have worked together before, including a direct link from Siemens’ NX software for CAD/CAM/CAE to Stratasys’ GrabCAD Print platform, enabling a seamless flow of design to 3-D printing. Another project is the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator that incorporates Siemens’ product lifecycle management software, and its motion control and CNC automation technologies, to manufacture small, lightweight parts.

“Siemens is enthusiastic about this partnership with Stratasys and the opportunity to help our customers adopt a new manufacturing mindset that we believe will result in better products produced more economically and delivered more efficiently,” said Zvi Feuer, senior vice president of manufacturing engineering software for Siemens’ software for product life cycle management.