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How 3D Printing Can Position Itself as a Competitive Alternative – Interview with Machine Manufacturer YIZUMI

The Chinese company YIZUMI is one of the leading manufacturers of machines for primary moulding techniques such as injection moulding, die casting and magnesium thixomoulding. YIZUMI manufactures more than 16,000 machines annually and markets them worldwide. YIZUMI Germany GmbH is its European hub. This is where innovation management is supported, sales on the European market are handled and the entire 3D printing division is managed. In an interview with 3Druck.com, General Manager Dr.-Ing. Nicolai Lammert and Global Sales & Marketing Manager Sandro Redina take a closer look at the importance of additive manufacturing for the industry.

YIZUMI Germany GmbH has been working continuously on the further development of SpaceA technology since 2018. This technology is characterised by the direct processing of plastic granulate, which is melted using a screw extruder and applied in layers until the final component is produced. The main aim of the development was to create a 3D printing system that represents a competitive alternative to conventional primary moulding processes, even for large quantities.

With the SpaceA S-Line, SpaceA B-Line and SpaceA C-Line, the company offers three different and modular all-in-one solutions that can also be integrated into existing production systems.

Interview with YIZUMI 

In an interview with 3Druck.com, General Manager Dr.-Ing. Nicolai Lammert and Global Sales & Marketing Manager Sandro Redina explain where additive manufacturing stands today compared to competing technologies and in which areas this manufacturing process will be increasingly used in the future.

In your opinion, what significance does additive manufacturing have in relation to competing technologies such as injection moulding?

General Manager Dr.-Ing. Nicolai Lammert

Additive manufacturing will become increasingly important in the course of constantly rising cost pressure and the need to increase efficiency. Large cell combinations can be replaced by a large number of individually operating 3D printers and thus offer the opportunity to increase the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of production plants, where interlinked processes would be more susceptible to efficiency. Compared to injection moulding, we believe that economic use up to a batch size of 50,000 units/year is already realistic today.

Additive manufacturing has developed continuously in recent years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you think are particularly important for the industrial sector?

The most important breakthrough in the long term will be the use of low-cost processing materials and the reduction of plant costs to a level that is standard in mechanical engineering. We are not yet at this point in the market. However, we are recognising initial demand trends that are moving in the direction of standard production technology. There will still have to be a lot of technical and material-related shifts in the market in order to establish additive manufacturing as a production technology compared to injection moulding or die casting.

First Corona and now high inflation are major challenges for the whole industry. How do you think the multiple crises will affect the additive manufacturing industry?

Global Sales & Marketing Manager Sandro Redina

The coronavirus crisis in particular has taken a lot of momentum out of the market. Many innovation projects with which manufacturers could have positioned themselves as first movers have simply not been initiated due to the huge loss of capital. The current high cost pressure, on the other hand, tends to emphasise the importance of efficient stand-alone solutions, such as 3D printers. At the same time, higher risks have to be taken in order to survive on the market compared to competitors. As a result, the market is currently divided into the hesitant, who are waiting out the storm, and the movers and shakers, who recognise that a rethink is needed in some applications in order to remain competitive in the long term. 

Of course, the comparison between 3D printing and injection moulding is an extremely lengthy process, as most of the investments in tools and machines have simply already been made. The task now is to achieve market penetration step by step. Every bit of knowledge that manufacturers, material producers, machine builders and universities can bring to the market is worth its weight in gold. Because only if you know the tools of the trade will you buy and use them.

What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on various industries and possibly on society as a whole in the coming years?

Additive manufacturing processes will gradually conquer areas of application in the field of structural components up to medium batch sizes / product run times. This is mainly due to costing reasons relating to risk minimisation strategies. For example, many small flexible production systems can be used with significantly lower risk and high efficiency than large master mould cells. We consider the trend towards @home production of consumer goods using 3D printers to be unrealistic. As a rule, mass-produced items from injection moulding or die casting are so cheap to manufacture that in-house production with all the issues of design, production, quality testing, costs and subsequent liabilities does not appear to make sense. Here, 3D printing is competing with perfectly valid distribution and logistics models, which are also subject to constant further development. Whereby the distribution models will have a decisive advantage above all through scalable software concepts. Of course, this assessment does not apply to all sectors. For example, applications in the field of medical technology have already become indispensable for batch sizes.

All in all, we believe that the use of additive manufacturing technologies will lead to an increase in technological diversity and thus the necessary creativity in companies. This is the only way to gain the final competitive edge. In order to manage these challenges, it will be all the more important to build diversified teams and allow for divergent ways of thinking. Thinking outside the box, which characterises the still very small 3D printing industry, will gradually find its way into society and established industries. Towards more creativity, agility and diversity. With the aim of finding the best solution.

Here you can find further information on YIZUMI Germany GmbH.

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