APPLICAZIONI LASER - The market is increasingly mature and competent

On the occasion of BIMU, the magazine Applicazioni Laser contacted us to propose an interview during which our RP Manager, Pasquali, examined some of the characteristic aspects of the additive production market. We report the complete article.

Andrea Pasquali intervistato da Applicazioni Laser

A year has passed since the association's debut in an era of international level as EMO MILANO: from your point of view, how has the additive technology sector evolved during this period?
I think there is a lot more awareness among those who are interested in additive technologies. I noticed that the difference between craft 3D printing and additive manufacturing for industrial purposes begin to be much clearer in the perception of my daily interlocutors. The interviews with customers who use the services provided by our company are increasingly aimed at finding technologies and materials suitable for solving complex engineering problems. The very strong rise of metal sintering technology, and therefore the greater overall production complexity, has been decisive in this healthy conceptual division.

In your opinion, what are the main drivers of competitiveness in the sector at the moment?
Additive technology brings both the advantage and the disadvantage of being extremely versatile and applicable, even in the industrial sector, to a potentially unlimited number of cases. This is a disadvantage because the temptation to realize "anything" by putting the criticality of production into the background is strong. It is an advantage because the consolidation of specialists, as in our case, we are focused on dealing with important numbers of different machines every day, paying the utmost attention to production efficiency, will lead to an high quality market, features for which the Italian manufacturing sector is second to none.

What do you think are the main ways in which technology can evolve? And to which application areas?
I would be more and more aware of the communication so that the strong difference between craftsmanship and industry in additive manufacturing is always clearer even in the general public. This would bring a clear direction and therefore the assumption by companies that additive technology must be part of FACTORY 4.0. The factory is equivalent to high performance functional components, the factory is equivalent to technological research and therefore exceed the current limits: working rooms that are not always of adequate size and production speed can be improved. More than a direction towards the sectors, I believe that the technological possibilities will be of interest to the sectors. Technologies and materials are possibilities: to force a declination I think can lead to the temptation to encase the role. I believe in the intelligence of Italian designers and I believe that they will be able to extract the best by working with people, like us, who make additive manufacturing their daily work.

How do you see the relationship between traditional machine tools and those of the "third type" (the additive ones)?
They are absolutely complementary. Obtaining objects from the full will not "go out of fashion". Additive manufacturing is the perfect solution for an ever-increasing number of applications, but machine tools will always play a decisive role in the workshops of companies.

Among the enabling technologies (software for design, post-treatment, testing, etc.) what are those that it believes can give a further boost to the industrial applications of additive technologies?
Every enabling technology is born of man.
Each enabling technology is the result of a chain of skills that, very quickly, go to create increasingly vertical specializations and that must be combined to achieve the perfect result. We deal with factory and production, I do not have a brilliant and definitive answer. I believe that the supply chain, of which we are a piece, that builds the perfect element in additive manufacturing requires many professional actors who, together and in equal measure, must work in concert to give substance to the Italian genius.