Ivano Corsini founded 3D4STEEL together with business partner Gabriele Carloni, with the goal of making steel 3D printing truly accessible to all. For this reason, the company chose to focus specifically on the most used metal, steel and the wide family of steel alloys. Not only does 3D4STEEL provide a range of metal 3D printers specifically optimized for steel, but it also intends to provide customers with a fully customized service solution. This comprehensive plan is based on its open, highly optimized AM systems for production and 3D4YOU, a tailor-made consultancy and support program that will make implementing 3D printing much smoother than it is today.
The “Man of Steel”
3D printing was born as a technology for prototyping and has recently evolved into a technology for high-end manufacturing. This is about to go through yet another revolution as it is now growing into a technology capable of achieving medium-size batch production. “In our vision 3D printing represents the future of small and medium batch production,” Corsini says. “We are now living through a time that is similar to the introduction of CAD systems for product design. They were expensive and hard to implement at first but those studios who did not invest in CAD, disappeared.”
“We work with our clients to make sure their desired type of steel – as well as other materials – material can be integrated into our 3D4Steel solution.”
Ivano Corsini, Founder and CEO, 3D4STEEL
With 3D printing there are several additional challenges that need to be met and, according to Corsini, current metal AM system manufacturers have not done nearly enough to help potential adopters use the technology to their advantage.
While material cost used to be marginally relevant, when it comes to medium size batch production they play a much bigger role in a company’s cost-effectiveness. AM powders supplied but closed-material system manufacturers are limited in terms of selection and can cost as much as three times as standard atomized powders. “We provide an open material systems, which means it is possible to use any type of steel, as long at the atomized powder is uniform and consistent.
Steel has always been the most widely used material for 3D printing and demand for it is only going to grow as more and more companies adopt this technology. “Steels include a wide family of materials which are not reactive – Corsini explains. There is no reason to make huge capital investments for systems that are built to handle titanium, aluminum and other highly reactive materials when all you really need to print is steel. While the trend for material-specific systems is clear, 3D4STEEL is the only metal 3D printer manufacturer to openly focus on a single material. “We believe this is the future,” Corsini says: “Highly specialized, material-specific 3D printing solutions that can cater to the real needs of the powder metallurgy industry. In the future we plan on expanding to other materials, growing one material at a time.”
Steeling the Scene
The desire to meet its customer’s demand goes beyond materials and also includes the highest degree of process optimization, something that Corisni believes current systems also fail to deliver on. Through extensive experience in industrial automation – Corsini also runs two companies that operate in this booming segment – 3D4STEEL’s vision is based on the real demands of small and medium size enterprises for streamlining production.
Among its 5 patents, the 3D4STEEL approach provides a highly optimized, powder sieving and recycling solution.
“We created a new system based on .5 bar of nitrogen, which is ATEX certified to recycle powder with the utmost safety for the machine operator.”
3D4STEEL uses nitrogen instead of argon and assures its systems can be cleaned in just few hours after use. Other patents concern the powder handling and deposition system, which enable the systems to achieve speeds that are up to 5 times higher than most laser-based metal powder bed fusion systems currently on the market. In addition, the unique filter replacement system – certified by the work and environmental safety experts at Remark – means filters can be disposed of, with no risk at all, in a standard metal disposal container, just like any metallic part.
3D4YOU, Unchained and Tailor made
For Corsini it is of utmost importance to ensure that a potential AM adopter knows exactly what 3D printing can do for its production and that potential clients are not blinded by false promises . “We don’t just sell systems but integrated solutions which we developed working at close contact with our clients. It’s not about the “machine” but about truly tailored made solutions. The truth – Corsini continues – is that there are several metal 3D printing system manufacturers in the market but none of the truly wants to understand why a company chooses to adopt 3D printing. They generally push their own materials at highly inflated costs and they never really explain how to best use this technology and how to implement it to immediately gain speed and flexibility. This is heavily hindering on the adoption of AM and the growth of the industry as a whole.”
3D4STEEL wants to provide a full service solution, with a localized team always available to provide support. “With our steel system we are able to 3D print as many as 83% of the replacement parts we need. We no longer need to keep a huge inventory of parts and rely on suppliers. In 24 hours I can design and produce the part I need and I can produce as many as 30 prototypes a month,” Corsini says.
“This is what 3D printing can do. Failing to adopt this technology now can be fatal but it has to be done right. 3D4STEEL wants to enable everyone to jump on this train.”