Caterpillar Inc. and FIT AG just announced their 3-year partnership to design and 3D print aluminum and titanium parts.
Heavy manufacturing sector will receive a boost from 3D printing over the next 3 years, thanks to a partnership between Construction equipment maker company Caterpillar and AM solutions provider FIT AG. Both companies will work together in order to design and 3D print aluminum and titanium parts mainly destined for Caterpillar’s large-scale construction machinery.
In the same way, FIT AG, an established firm in the 3D printing industry, will gain insight through Caterpillar’s manufacturing and product expertise, while this latter aims to expand its own experience in the industrial equipment market. Carl Fruther, CEO of FIT AG – the German additive manufacturing company – expressed about the partnership:
“We are thrilled to enter into a strategic alliance with Caterpillar. Caterpillar is a world leader in many markets, which will benefit greatly from additive manufacturing. However, this requires innovative technologies and new thinking combined with experience and deep know-how. Our companies complement each other with their respective strengths.”
The project will complement the ongoing work in Caterpillar’s Additive Manufacturing Factory, unveiled last year.
Officially founded in 1925, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), is an US corporation, headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. It is one of the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.
The reason why the World-leading machinery producer company keeps its forward-thinking approach to manufacturing is the constantly implementation of technologies, like 3D Printing process. Caterpillar has already printed over 50,000 models for rapid prototyping purposes over the last 26 years as it isn’t a new concept for their additive manufacturing team.
Moreover, last year, the Illinois HQ company opened three new innovation spaces at Caterpillar’s Global Research & Development Center: the Innovation Accelerator, the Additive Manufacturing Factory, and the Cat® MicroFoundry. The new tech ecosystem seeks to benefit further from 3D printing through “brainstorming and design with 3D modeling tools and a makerspace, allowing Caterpillar team members to experiment with materials and create rough models of ideas”.
Additive Manufacturing offers a more sustainable option for making parts and components while saving time and lots of money for Caterpillar. For instance, the construction company saved $160,000 in time and labor last year when implemented a project that prototypes certain parts on track machines with 3D printed plastic models.
About the new partnership with additive manufacturing solutions provider FIT AG, Stacey DelVecchio, Caterpillar’s Additive Manufacturing Project Manager words were:
“Caterpillar has a long history of creating innovative products designed to fit the needs of our customers and entering into a strategic alliance with a leader in additive manufacturing will help further that tradition. Not only will Caterpillar now have access to FIT AG’s cutting-edge technologies in additive manufacturing but this alliance will also help accelerate our adoption of 3D printing.”
Strategic alliance will have an initial three-year term
As mentioned above, the additive manufacturing partnership between FIT AG and Caterpillar was signed for a three-year term, and it has the possibility of being extended based on the collaboration’s success during that period. The results are expected to be profitable for both companies.
Based in Lupburg, Germany, FIT AG is a leading German provider of rapid prototyping services, dditive design and manufacturing solutions. The company, which was founded in 1995, employs 250 people on these days, most of them work at the company’s HQ in Lupburg, as well as Hamburg, Germany, and Boston. Its subsidiaries are FIT Prototyping GmbH, FIT Production GmbH and netfabb GmbH.