Although you may know it more for beautiful landscapes, monuments, and the best culinary tradition in the world by a longshot, Italy is a key adopter of AM technologies and one of the top global markets for industrial automation. Its healthy design industry – with Milan as its capital – and high-end luxury products, from Ferrari and Lamborghini to yachts and high-end jewelry, make ideal candidates for the opportunities that additive manufacturing offers in terms of short batch production for limited editions, mass customization and high-performance products.

However, there is also another reason why Italy has been such an early adopter of additive manufacturing and today represent one of the top 5 global markets. If one of the promises of AM is distributed manufacturing, Italy has been a distributed manufacturing nation from it’s “industrial miracle” of the 1960s. The Italian industrial landscape is made of thousands of distributed SME’s. These companies specialize in short to medium production of high-quality goods. To many of them, 3D printers offer the solutions they have been looking for.

On the other hand, there are also many factors slowing down Italy’s adoption of AM. One is the very fact that Italian companies are generally small, family-owned businesses with a very localized view of the market and a chronic inability to scale up globally. Many times this is related to a generalized antipathy for making investments that are considered risky, for example in educating the workforce, adequately rewarding the best talents and in marketing their products to a global audience. This is not true for every company and the fashion, food and furniture design industries tell us that when Italian companies do take these steps, they can be some of most successful in the world.

Another factor limiting adoption is that Italian manufacturing is very much tied to traditional approaches. In many cases, the most high-quality materials cannot be processed by AM, or at least not to the highest standards. For this reason, Italian companies were the very first to implement 3D printing for rapid prototyping and even casting but may not be as rapid in adopting 3D printing for part production.

So what kind of AM companies are there in Italy? Some of the key AM adopters are active in the medical field (Lima Corporate invented 3D printed trabecular titanium implants), others are leading in aerospace (Avio Aero, now GE, built the world’s first fully integrated metal AM factory). There are a number of 3D printer manufacturers, led by Sisma and DWS (active in the dental and jewelry segments with stereolithography and metal PBF systems), and growing industrial filament extrusion system producers such as 3ntr and Roboze. Due to the Italian industry former leadership in the field of plastics, there are also a number of high-quality filament manufacturers. Then, of course, all major automotive companies (FCA, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati among others) are very important adopters of AM, primarily for prototyping. Meaning that there is also a healthy market for the distribution of high-end prototyping systems by EOS, Stratasys, 3D Systems and all the other AM industry leaders.

In this AM Focus, in collaboration with the team from our Italian sister website and our 3D Printing Business Directory team, we will look at some of the most interesting Italian companies leading the AM revolution in the most beautiful country in the world.

  • BEAMIT commercial agency Japan

    Italy-based BEAMIT, one of the largest additive manufacturing service bureaus in Europe, has announced it is moving into new territory, literally. According to a recent release, the company is inaugurating a commercial agency in Japan, which will focus on the energy, motorsport, aviation, space and defense sectors. BEAMIT’s Japan-based initiative…

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  • Olli shuttle Turin ITC-ILO

    Local Motors has just deployed Olli, a 3D printed, self-driving, electric shuttle, in the Italian city of Turin. The vehicle will be used over a four-month trial period to transport people within the International Training Centre campus of the UN’s International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO). The deployment marks the automated shuttle’s…

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  • LimaCorporate new facilities 3D

    LimaCorporate, an Italy-based multinational specializing in orthopedics, has today announced the launch of a new Research & Innovation Center (R&I Center) and an Advanced Laboratory for Testing and Analysis (ATLAs). The new facilities, based at LimaCorporate’s headquarters in Udine, Italy, will be dedicated entirely to 3D printing and advanced testing…

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  • BEAMIT Commercial Agency Japan

    Italy-based additive manufacturing service provider BEAMIT has announced the acquisition of stake in PRES-X, a startup specializing in AM post-processing. The investment in PRES-X will enable BEAMIT to expand its own knowledge of AM as well as its offering, strengthening its position in the European AM market. PRES-X is reportedly…

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    Sisma, an Italy-based developer of machinery and laser systems, debuted two new additive manufacturing systems at Formnext last week: the new EVEMET 200 laser metal fusion 3D printer series and the new EVERES VARIO DLP 3D printer. The company, which has primarily focused on the jewelry segment but also serves…

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  • Italdron WASP 3D drone

    Among the newest generations of products, drones are arguably those that best embody the concept of innovation. Not only for their technical characteristics, but also for the cutting-edge technologies used to develop and build them. As a manufacturing process, 3D printing is increasingly used within the drone production cycle, mainly…

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  • Prima Industrie Innovation Days

    This week, Italian manufacturing company Prima Industrie hosted the second edition of the international Innovation Days event at its new and state-of-the-art Advanced Laser Center. The two-day event, dedicated to advances in additive manufacturing and sheet metal processing, welcomed over 300 guests, including customers and representatives from universities and research…

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  • WASP TECLA 3D habitat

    Just outside of Bologna, work is advancing on an ambitious construction 3D printing project spearheaded by Italian company WASP and Mario Cucinella Architects. Together, the companies are constructing the first prototype of a sustainable, 3D printed habitat called TECLA. If you are familiar with WASP, you’ll know that the Italian…

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  • WASP Italian Speed ​​Championship

    WASP, the first and leading Italian manufacturer of advanced Delta 3D printers, has been pushing the additive manufacturing industry in new directions since it was founded by Massimo Moretti in 2012. The company’s latest evolutions are now heading towards leveraging the consolidated and highly reliable kinematics of its delta systems…

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  • D-Orbit ESA Politecnico di Milano

    Students from the Politecnico di Milano have redesigned a spacecraft component using 3D printing. The part will ultimately be installed aboard the new D-Orbit ION MK2 spacecraft and launched into space next August. The component was designed as part of the Italian university’s Additive Manufacturing for Space and Aerospace Applications…

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