Over the past few years, additive manufacturing technologies have established themselves as some of the most innovative processes, affecting numerous high-added-value industrial sectors, from aerospace to racing, from biomedical to fashion and design. And it does not end here: new needs, posed on the one hand by the “need for sustainability” and on the other by the needs deriving from the impacts of COVID-19 on the dynamics of the global economy, will continue to broaden the audience of potentially interested parties. The implications are significant for both users and suppliers of production solutions, materials, software and services. This growing target of potential 3D printing operators needs an event that can provide a full experience relating to the entire Italian and international additive manufacturing sector. Precisely for this reason, the new piùAdditive fair was created within the 33.BI-MU event for the global machine tool industry.
In order to best support this evolution, especially in the context of the Italian market, piùAdditive has been conceived as an event that can combine the peculiarities of the additive sector, the growth and innovation needs of the Italian industry and the strength of a large fair venue, such as the Fiera Milano setting. This proved indispensable for B2B solutions, such as those typical of the manufacturing sector, where the “relational” aspect cannot be replaced by remote systems such as video calls.
Made in AITA
Faced with these considerations and driven by the industry, EFIM-ENTE FIERE ITALIANE MACCHINE, and AITA, the Italian association for AM technologies, created piùAdditive, a new and much larger exhibition area “by additive for additive” within the 33.BI-MU fair (set to take place at Fiera Milano, on 12-15 October, 2022).
In fact, piùAdditive means giving life to a highly targeted event, which allows all players – current and potential – of additive technologies, to live a full experience, whether they are machine builders, manufacturers of materials for additive, service centers, quality labs, designers, software developers or any other entity involved in this business. In addition to the typical trade fair activities, particular attention will be paid to dissemination and networking activities, through the implementation of various initiatives that will allow exhibitors and visitors to interact, to identify technological and business solutions, based on the applications of additive technologies, in a “win-win” perspective.
Luigi Galdabini, president of AITA, the “engine” behind this initiative, illustrated the prospects for additive manufacturing in Italy, explains that “if we consider a perspective that goes from the immediate to the medium term, the Italian industry will see a growing use of additive technologies in its manufacturing processes. A strong impulse can come, as is already happening, from the measures that the Italian government has implemented on the theme of “Industry 4.0” which include, among those that can be facilitated, a range of machines and software that cover the entire additive manufacturing chain.
“We should also consider – adds Galdabini – the support to additive innovation coming from tax credits for development, innovation and design activities. If we consider that the bonus on capital goods and the one just mentioned on innovation have been extended until 2025, piùAdditive will represent an important opportunity to define and confirm additive strategies and investments, tailored to the needs of the post-COVID recovery and supported with 4.0 incentives. There is the possibility of deferred delivery in 2023, provided that the order is placed with a 20% deposit by 31 December 2022”.
Among its other effects, COVID has highlighted the need for the industrial sector to have highly flexible and reconfigurable production systems. “We still have clear in our memories the need to produce in ‘zero-time’ part for respirators and other aids for the medical emergency,” recalls Galdabini. “At this juncture, additive technologies, through the efforts of CECIMO and AITA have aggregated the availability of numerous national and European players, proving to be the most suitable to meet this need. This ability to rapidly reconfigure systems can become a winning proposition for addressing the challenges posed by the transition to a green economy and, consequently, the need to develop new types of products with a low environmental impact”.
All the variants of the additive process are, at the same time, expanding their potential and finding new application areas. If on the one hand, these innovations act as a “technology push”, market demands pull AM producers, asking for new solutions. “This generates a virtuous circle that sees additive assert itself both in sectors that, from a certain point of view, are now considered “conventional” (racing, aerospace, biomedical, fashion & design) and new areas, such as construction and food,” explains Galdabini. “The same goes for materials since we are witnessing an expansion of the range in the field of metals (for example with copper), as well as polymers, ceramics all the way to bioprinting”.
An additive network
During piùAdditive, international experts will present the perspectives of the additive sector both from a technical and economic point of view, with targeted B2B meeting sessions to establish a dialogue between supply and demand. This activity will be carried out with the support of ADACI-the Italian Purchasing and Supply Management Association.
“We will be at piùAdditive because we plan to meet companies that have a vision for their future, we want to be part of that vision and contribute to it”, explains Eng. Enrico Orsi, Additive Manufacturing Product Manager at Renishaw SpA, a company that designs and manufactures machines for the additive manufacturing of metal parts. Renishaw machines use laser PBF to produce high performance mechanical components. The Italian branch distributes and supports its clients, in addition to offering training and development of dedicated processes. Renishaw also offers tailor-made solutions, identifying the specific benefits for the industries that produce using AM.
To more directly involve industrial entities interested in the peculiarities of additive technologies, a series of information seminars during the fair will convey useful information for the widespread adoption of AM in the Italian production sector. This will also enable exhibiting companies to illustrate their products and solutions to the audience of operators present. In addition, it will be possible to meet start-ups and research centers that can provide technical solutions that go beyond the “state of the art”.
“This year will be our second participation in BI-MU, after the 2020 edition,” Eng. Paolo Calefati, Head of Additive Manufacturing and Innovation at Prima Additive – Divisione Prima Industrie SpA., tells 3dpbm. “We participated in 2021 and, despite the pandemic, we saw great participation, a sign of the desire on the part of entrepreneurs to invest to innovate and grow their companies. The yearly appointment with the Milan fair will be an important opportunity to present key innovations to the Italian market and to meet new customers”.
At piùAdditive and BI-MU, Prima Additive will display its metal AM systems based on Powder Bed Fusion and Direct Energy Deposition. Since the foundation of the Prima Industrie Business Unit in 2018, the company’s goal has always been to lower entry barriers entry to AM by reducing costs, increasing efficiency and providing a series of services to customers for them to fully exploit all the benefits of AM as applied to their production context.
“As part of our PBF development efforts,” explains Calefati, “we are working on the development of new processable materials. In fact, in recent times, we have seen growing market demand for applications in copper, gold, or other highly reflective alloys with high thermal and electrical conductivity. For this reason, through our experience in laser systems, we have worked on the implementation of green lasers for processing these materials. Direct Energy Deposition technology is used for repair operations and also for the production of large parts”.
In order to increase the production efficiency of DED technology, Prima recently presented the innovative REAL_DED head, internally designed and patented, which improves performance. New solutions are in the works that leverage innovative laser sources. “Looking at a broader picture, our strength lies in the ability to guide our customers throughout the process of adopting additive manufacturing: we are always transparent with all those who want to approach this technology,” Calefati concludes.
The evolution of printing
According to Enrico Orsi, the entire additive process is evolving very rapidly. “The quality of laser melting,” he argues can be extended to embrace more sectors through improvements productivity.” In addition, the new technologies that are emerging, alongside existing ones, will complete the picture by targeting even lower-value applications.
On the evolution of the additive sector in Italy Calefati provides a clear overview: “At the moment there is a strong base of companies that have already found their way to make the most of this technology and that are obtaining important benefits from it: many times, in fact, those who start using AM do not stop after the purchase of a single machine: they buy more systems to increase production, a clear sign that the demand for additive components is there.”
These companies will continue to be joined by others in the coming years, as awareness of the potential of AM technology increases. As for the general panorama, evolution is taking place in terms of applications. Here an increasingly important role is played by OEMs that, due to the current fragility of world supply chains, are approaching additive. In order to meet their demands, the AM systems have to become more performing, more productive and more automated.
By additive for additive
More than a consequence, the expansion of additive manufacturing in sectors beyond machine tools is its natural evolution. Industrial vision must be transversal and ready to seize opportunities, looking beyond the status quo. This, with a view to technological contamination, must take place in a ‘bidirectional’ way, to intercept new needs, but also to capitalize on solutions developed by other industrial sectors that have faced similar problems. Taking all this into consideration, AITA supported the creation of piùAdditive as an exhibition area of 33.BI-MU that is open to all application sectors, almost as if it were a spin-off.
As such piùAdditive will benefit from the strength of one of the main trade fairs in the world dedicated to machine tools for metalworking, which will be combined with the XYLEXPO fair for woodworking machines. At the same time, AM industry operators will have a “vertical” event focusing on their needs, whether they are expressions of the mechanical sector or other industrial sectors. “This will allow us to deliver on the slogan that will accompany piùAdditive as the only event “by additive for additive,” concludes Galbadini.