Michelin and Fives announced the creation of a joint venture, Fives Michelin Additive Solutions, aimed at developing and marketing industrial machines and production shops through “metal additive manufacturing” technology.
The new venture will be 50% owned by Fives and 50% by Michelin and will benefit from a financial contribution of at least €25 million in the first three years.
Initially, it will employ about twenty people from the Michelin and Fives teams and integrate additional expertise. The company will be located near Clermont-Ferrand.
French company Fives provides equipment and production systems for industrial players in a variety of sectors. Expertise includes mechanical engineering, automation, and industrial process control to produce digitized machines and systems.
Michelin has been developing its expertise in metal additive manufacturing to produce mold parts that are unachievable using traditional means of production (machining, welding, etc.). Its technology makes it possible to develop truck and car tires with exceptional performances.
Fives Michelin Additive Solutions will offer industrialists in automotive, aerospace, health, and so on, a complete approach from the design and manufacture of machines and production lines to related services, such as redesign of parts, installation, production support, training, and more.
Metal additive manufacturing, a growth sector
Metal additive manufacturing is still a niche market, but one that is rapidly expanding. Initially used to produce single parts with high added value, metal 3D printing technology is gaining a wider market and is starting to be used by OEMs, accessory suppliers, and aircraft manufacturers. According to the Wohlers Report 2016, the market for metal additive manufacturing in 2014 was already worth than €600 million with an average annual growth of over 20%. That same year, more than 500 machines were sold worldwide.