New Massive Japan Alliance – Including Panasonic – Aims to Produce Next-Generation 3D Industrial Printers
The Nikkei of Tokyo reports that a consortium of Japanese companies and the Japanese government has been formed to develop next-generation 3D printers using metals such as titanium for applications in healthcare and aerospace. The 3D printers will be used for producing parts such as artificial joints and airplane components using molten metal.
Members include the Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and 27 companies, including Panasonic, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, IHI, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Komatsu, and Nissan Motor.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will contribute 3.8 billion yen ($36.5 million U.S.) into the efforts this year. Each member will pay annual dues of 500,000 yen to the research association. Japan’s Tohoku University and Kinki University will contribute their research findings.
The association plans on having its first prototypes ready by 2015. Some of these prototypes will be sold as commercial products. Full-fledged marketing of the 3D printers to domestic and foreign makers of medical equipment and aircraft will begin by the end of fiscal 2019.
Last summer, Panasonic reported that it had begun using 3D printers to produce parts for appliances, which will be produced using molten metal.