We've been regular speakers at the TCT Live rapid manufacturing (RM) conference for some years, sharing our experiences of additive manufacturing from the perspective of an industrial user that produces the majority of its components using 'traditional' metal cutting machine tools.
Our Rapid Manufacturing Manager, Jeremy Pullin, is particularly vocal on this topic and writes a regular column in the TCT magazine based on his own experiences from managing our pioneering Rapid Manufacturing Centre. He has overseen a substantial investment in rapid prototyping/rapid manufacturing facilities, which aim to give us faster testing of concepts and full scale production of parts produced using a variety of additive manufacturing technologies. Our in-house capabilities also include rapid prototyping of PCBs, injection moulding, vacuum casting and chemical etching, all aiming to reduce development lead times and increase our range of in house manufacturing technologies.
And as of last Friday (8th April) we now have an even greater foothold in the RM market, following our acquisition of the entire share capital of MTT Investments Limited and its subsidiary, MTT Technologies Limited (MTT).
MTT is based in the UK county of Staffordshire, which is famous around the world for its historic pottery industry, and more recently for the 'Staffordshire Hoard', the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found in Britain dating back to the 7th or 8th Century. However, our newly acquired business is very much at the forefront of 21st century materials technology, designing, developing and manufacturing a range of additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping systems - selective laser melting, metal casting and vacuum casting machines to name but a few.
Our Chairman and Chief Executive, Sir David McMurtry, said, “MTT has a range of interesting technologies including selective laser melting (SLM) equipment which currently has its main markets in aerospace and medical devices, but also has potential for use in other sectors. All its products are complementary to Renishaw’s existing technologies and business."
The operations of MTT will be incorporated within Renishaw as a new product division and will continue to be based in Staffordshire and according to its CEO, Simon Scott, there is a great business fit between our companies. “We’re confident that Renishaw will be able to provide us with the ability to fully unlock the potential of SLM allowing us to compete with our peers and aim for a market leadership position. It has recognised the potential of the technology through the achievements we have made so far on very limited resources. Renishaw also uses additive manufacturing for its own commercial activities and therefore I believe that Renishaw has a good level of confidence in both the technology and the potential of our team.”
Judging by the conversational traffic in social media, this news has come as quite a surprise to some in the RM industry, but is being seen positively, as it certainly is amongst MTT and Renishaw employees. As Sir David said, "We look forward to developing an exciting new business together.”
(Image is of an MTT SLM250 Selective Laser Melting machine)