Burgmaier Technologies has invested 1.5 million euros in Allmendingen in order to be able to produce individual 3-D prints for its customers in addition to the traditional machining business. This opens up completely new customer groups for the company.
Layer by layer, the printer applies the finest metal powder to a plate. A laser quickly fuses particles of powder together before applying the next layer. 10 000 layers and a few hours later, the remaining powder can be turned away manually. What remains is a finished, often very filigree metalwork, which receives the final touch from a machine operator in a machine in the next room. The remaining powder is reused around 90 percent for the next print.
About 18 months ago, Burgmaier Technologies decided to break new ground and establish a strategy by 2025. “The automotive industry, which we deliver mainly, is changing and we wanted to be active in time,” says CEO Karl-Hugo Schick to the intention. 80 ideas were up for discussion, and those responsible decided to include 3-D pressure in the production process of metal parts in addition to the traditional area of machining – ie turning out and milling parts made of metal. “We stay with the metal, because that’s in our blood,” summarizes Schick the development. And the new business unit is intended to complement the classic one over the long term and not replace it, he explains. Because instead of producing mainly parts for the automotive industry, printing has opened up new customer groups, for example from the plant construction and hydraulics sectors. “With the technology in our division, we are one of the early users,” says Ken Krauß, who was originally involved in the Department Controlling. Privately passionate fan of 3-D printing, he was now also head of Additive Manufacturing at Burgmaier.
The new technology is to be used specifically for customer orders. Instead of just manufacturing, Burgmaier will also be able to take over the construction in the future. Schick is convinced: “This fits well with the industrial location of Germany, if everything comes from a single source.” The company has already contacted the customer’s designers and presented the new area on the third floor. The floor is now divided into a planning office, an open meeting room and the engine room, in which six printers can be accommodated in the future. At fairs and conferences, the new manufacturing process will also be presented and soon be available on the company’s website.