Home Industry Michelin Japan opens new innovation center for 3D metal printing

Michelin Japan opens new innovation center for 3D metal printing

Michelin Japan has opened a new innovation center, the Michelin AM Atelier, in Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. Housed in a metal lamination factory owned by Nihon Michelin Tire Co, the Atelier aims to accelerate product development through the use of 3D metal printers and collaboration with local SMEs.

The Japanese unit of the French tire maker aims to further advance advances in manufacturing technology and foster a network of new companies in the region. The factory will allow partner companies to explore new areas while minimizing risks, according to Gen Sudo, president of Michelin Japan, at a company presentation in May.

Michelin AM Atelier’s research and development programs now include 22 companies, up from eight initially. Michelin Japan plans to move its headquarters to Ota in August to foster closer ties with local companies. The company’s proprietary AM technology, used in the production of car tire molds, layers and solidifies metallic powders and resins using lasers. At the Michelin AM Atelier, participating companies have access to 3D printers for new product development and engineering training.

More than 60 people from companies not only in Gunma, but also in other prefectures, have participated in AM Atelier training and seminars. The atelier also functions as a collaborative space where companies can pool their expertise and conduct joint research. Shinichi Iizuka, president of Toa, believes that as knowledge increases, collaboration between local companies will increase, which could make the region a pioneer in 3D printing technology.

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