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Renishaw acquires pioneer in additive manufacture

14 May 2013

(l to r) Marc Dimter and Ralph Mayer, LBC, and Rainer Lotz, Renishaw GmbHThe business assets of LBC Laser Bearbeitungs Center GmbH, Kornwestheim, Germany, have been purchased by the German subsidiary of world leading engineering company Renishaw. A new business, LBC Engineering, has been created which will be integrated within Renishaw GmbH.

Renishaw, a global company operating in the fields of metrology, healthcare and additive manufacturing is acquiring, as part of an asset deal, the business and employees of LBC Laser Bearbeitungs Center GmbH, a pioneer in the field of additive manufacturing for tool and mould making. Already a leader in the supply of laser melting systems, the deal will also allow Renishaw to offer additional additive manufacturing services, including design and simulation, and the contract manufacture of metal prototypes and production parts.

The deal will create a new business, LBC Engineering, comprised of former employees of LBC Laser Bearbeitungs Center GmbH, which will continue to offer services to its existing customers. The new business will be fully integrated within Renishaw GmbH at its offices in Pliezhausen. 

Rainer Lotz, Managing Director of Renishaw GmbH, said: “Through this acquisition the Renishaw Group has gained excellent additional skills and experience, which will allow us to further develop our additive manufacturing business for a wide range of applications. The customers for our laser melting machines will benefit from this additional expertise, allowing them to quickly integrate this exciting new technology, with its many benefits, into their everyday processes.”

Simulation of conformal cooling channelsLBC Laser Bearbeitungs Center GmbH was established in 2002 as a service provider for laser inscription and 3D laser engraving, and is a recognised pioneer in the field of metal-based additive manufacturing. The company has mainly focused on the additive manufacture of conformally cooled mould tools and tool inserts for injection moulding and die-casting applications. An important part of the service offered includes component design and simulation to maximise the economic benefits of the laser-melted inserts.

Laser melting is an additive manufacturing process capable of producing fully dense metal parts direct from 3D CAD using a high-powered laser. Parts are built from a range of fine metal powders that are fully melted in a tightly controlled atmosphere layer-by-layer. The process gives designers more freedom, resulting in structures and shapes, such as conformal cooling channels, that would otherwise be constrained by conventional ‘subtractive' processes, or the tooling requirements of volume production.

Ralph Mayer and Marc Dimter, executive shareholders of LBC Laser Bearbeitungs Center GmbH, see important synergies for additive manufacturing: “Through the new relationship with Renishaw, we can drive this new technology forward together and specifically focus on meeting increased customer demands for stable processes and industrial use of additive manufacturing machines. Renishaw offers extensive technological knowledge and highly effective research and development from which our existing customers will also benefit.“

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