Kyodo Times recently reported that a factory operated by Nihon Michelin Tire Co in the northwest Tokyo, Japan, is increasing its development of new products using Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing technology whilst collaborating with local companies to drive innovation.
The facility, named Michelin AM Atelier, seeks to enable companies to partake on journeys into new fields using AM. The number of companies and organisations participating in AM Atelier’s R&D programmes has grown from eight at launch to twenty-two.
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Nihon Michelin has, for example, created moulds for car tyres using its AddUp Additive Manufacturing technologies, however, participant companies can use the Additive Manufacturing machines for training engineers or developing a wide range of new products.
Over sixty companies have now participated, including the training sessions and seminars held before the official launch of AM Atelier’s operations. Many small and midsize business owners reportedly now consider the use of the digital technology ‘a must’ when looking to improve the quality of products and the efficiency of operations.
The AM Atelier is also intended to serve as a ‘salon’ where participating companies can share their knowledge and conduct joint research. The space is intended to provide a platform for sharing and verifying experimental data, manufacturing legacy parts for out-of-production vehicles, and developing new products beyond the boundaries of individual companies.
In August, Nihon Michelin reportedly plans to relocate its head office from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward to Ota in order to expand partnerships with as many local firms as possible.