Kurtz Ersa has announced a partnership with Laser Melting Innovations (LMI) that allows Kurtz to market LMI’s Alpha 140 metal SLM 3D printer worldwide. The partnership allows Kurtz to expand its market share in the metallic additive manufacturing market.
For over 20 years, LMI has been helping small-to-medium-sized businesses and institutions enter laser metal printing. The attractive purchase price offered by LMI allows the company to “democratize 3D metal printing”. Kurtz capitalizes on LMI’s market share by offering the innovator a worldwide marketing platform and enhanced manufacturing volume; LMI supplies its Alpha 140 printer.
The family-owned company boasts a 240-year manufacturing history beginning in 1779. It is based in Kreuzwertheim, Bayern, and currently produces electronic production equipment, molding machines and automation technology. The company is formed out of two corporations, Ersa GmbH, which focuses on electronic production equipment, and Kurtz GmbH, which produces molding machines.
The Alpha 140 is an air-cooled diode laser printer able to manufacture stainless steel, nickel-chromium alloys, cobalt-chromium alloys and aluminum pieces. Its build volume is 140 mm by 200 mm, which lives up to its small-to-medium-sized business applications. LMI bills the machine as “an optimal solution for the tool-free production of metal parts”.
Kurtz Ersa, by contrast, currently offers more traditional industrial components. Its soldering and molding machines are widely marketed to consumer cyclical, automotive, technology, and construction sectors. It turned over 265 million euros on this business in 2019. None of these applications, however, incorporate smaller on-demand production capacity.
The Alpha 140 fills this gap and exposes Kurtz to a wave of additive manufacturing potential. The move is in keeping with Kurtz’s apparently successful philosophy of “continuous improvement”, where “no structure, process, product, or resource is good enough not to need any improvement within a world of constant change”.
Kurtz managing director, Uwe Rothaug, described the partnership as a new business venture designed to expand LMI’s and Kurtz’s worldwide offering:
The cooperation will enable users to achieve a fantastically short time-to-market. For Kurtz Ersa, LMI’s process know-how in the field of additive manufacturing is the key to entering the new business field. For LMI, as a young technology company, Kurtz Ersa’s sales and service channels and the experience of the established machine builder provide the ideal complement to the roll-out of metallic 3D printing.
For LMI, the partnership is another step toward its goal of creating an industry-compatible system that can provide on-demand tools and parts at a low entry cost. Kurtz’s first foray into the additive manufacturing market allows it to enhance its product line and appeal to more specialized businesses.