Prima Industrie, a manufacturer of laser systems for industrial applications, sheet metal processing machinery, and industrial electronics and laser technologies, hosted its first Innovation Day event, dedicated to laser-based breakthrough technologies for metal processing, at its headquarters and Tech Center in Collegno, Turin, Italy, Wednesday, Oct. 3. More than 160 guests from 20 different countries composed of customers and prospects, universities and research centers, and international media representatives attended the event.
The new Prima Additive division, dedicated to the design, production and marketing of turnkey solutions for metal powder bed fusion (PBF) and direct metal deposition (DMD) technologies, as well as application support and global service, was introduced. The new division will be made up of managers and engineers located in a new facility next to the Prima Industrie headquarters. The building is currently under construction, and the investment for the facility is near $7 million.
“I’m particularly proud to introduce the first Innovation Day and to present this new brand because it reinforces the pioneering spirit and the legacy of innovation of our Group,” said Prima Industrie Group President Gianfranco Carbonato. “Back in the 1970s, we followed our vision and we entered the market of laser machines for industrial applications that was just at its beginning, and it was a winning choice. Today we are witnessing the development of these new applications of laser to metalworking and their disruptive potential. It is a fascinating new manufacturing paradigm, and we are ready to help our customers seize these business opportunities.”
The Prima Industrie Group has more than 40 years of experience and more than 13,000 installed machines, plus a research and design team that the company says is committed to finding the most competitive technology for its customers.
Prima Additive is the third division of the Prima Industrie Group, which includes Prima Power—laser and sheet metal working machinery—and Prima Electro—laser sources and industrial electronics. Besides the addition of Prima Additive, other recent R&D developments in the Prima Power Machinery Division were related to Laser Next 2141 and a new 2D laser machine concept, designed for larger size applications. Also, the Prima Electro Division focused on expansion of its CF Fiber laser family.
The Group has revenues of more than $518 million and more than 1,800 employees worldwide, and its expertise in laser technologies dates back to 1978, when the first 5-axis laser robot was developed. Today Prima Industrie has a wide product portfolio including 2D and 3D laser systems, punching and combined machines, press brakes and panel benders, and automation systems.
Prima Industrie has invested in digital manufacturing and all its products are Industry 4.0 compliant. Real-time and historical data are collected and analyzed by intelligent software solutions to give accurate performance and production reports via the Cloud.
“We are investing in innovation—about 6% [of consolidated revenue] is invested in R&D every year,” said Carbonato. “It’s a bright future for laser—we are the only laser machine company with a high-power fiber laser. We made the first machine for 3D cutting 40 years ago and we have a lot of experience in this, and now we are entering the 3D metal printing segment. We are also investing in software and Industry 4.0, virtual reality, simulation, integration, IoT, the Cloud and big data. Additive manufacturing is one of the key technologies within Industry 4.0 and we are entering into this market.”
The mission of the new Prima Additive Division is continuous innovation in laser for material processing and its main commitment is to advance the industry by reducing barriers to entry in additive manufacturing. The company offers services for its customers, from pre-engineering and design to process optimization and configuration, part testing and standards compliance. Prima Additive can also assist customers with the design and build of their prototypes in its application center.
Product range includes both PBF and DMD technologies. PBF is based on layer by layer fabrication. The laser source produces thermal energy, melting the powder material, which then solidifies as it cools down. Layer by layer the part is created. This technology is used for constructive parts with complex geometries found in the aerospace, biomedical, prototyping, spare parts, casting, motorsport and automotive sectors.
The technology principle of the DMD process is high build rate—the laser source produces thermal energy to fuse powder metal sprayed at the focal point of the laser beam, which melts the powder to the component. This process is particularly suitable for adding features to existing parts for customization, coating and repairing.
Prima Additive products showcased and demonstrated during Innovation Day included:
- Print Sharp 250—a power bed solution designed for high precision printing in a wide range of materials.
- Laser Next 2141—the large scale multi-purpose solution with advanced technology for different applications, such as laser metal deposition, 3D cutting, 2D cutting and welding.
- Laserdyne 430—a compact and precise laser metal deposition platform with high build rate for 3D fabrication, reworking and R&D applications.
- Laserdyne 795—suitable to handle large-scale components with fast and qualitative results, and flexible to accommodate different options for machine and process set up depending on the application.
Also during the event, new laser-based, application-driven technologies for the aerospace sector were presented and demonstrated. These solutions will further enlarge—particularly for welding—the application range covered by Prima Power Laserdyne products, according to the company.