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Japan : Sojitz and Koiwai Enter 3D Printer Manufacturing Business for Metal Products
Publish Date : 14-Nov-2017

Sojitz Corporation (Sojitz) and Koiwai Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Odawara-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture; Representative Director: Toyomi Koiwai; Koiwai) have established JAMPT Corporation to mass produce and sell products manufactured using 3D printing technology that laminates metal powders, which is known as additive manufacturing (abbreviated as AM.) JAMPT will be the first company in Japan to offer an integrated, one-stop service that provides everything from metal powder production, product development using AM machines (3D metal printers), and support for companies seeking product certification.

Market demand is rapidly growing for high-precision utility products created using AM, such as aerospace engine parts and medical implants. AM technology simplifies the manufacturing process for metal products with complex forms or manufacturing procedures, and makes it possible to fabricate new products for which production had previously been impossible due to manufacturing-based limitations. As a result, a greater range of product designs and materials are expected to be implemented in the future. Since product data can be shared online, products of uniform quality can be manufactured anywhere in the world with just a 3D metal printer and metal powders, making it possible to reduce inventories and lower logistics costs.

While Europe and China have lead the advancement of metal AM technologies, Japans Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry established the Technology Research Association for Future Additive Manufacturing (TRAFAM) in 2014 to expand and develop AM technologies in Japan. Sojitz is a supporting member and Koiwai is an association member of TRAFAM. JAMPT has welcomed a technical advisor, Akihiko Chiba, professor at the Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University, who is a project leader of electron beam system at TRAFAM. Sojitz will partner with TRAFAM and the Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University to further develop and expand AM technologies. Additionally, a venture fund at Tohoku University is currently considering investment in JAMPT.

Sojitz will capitalize on its networks and wide-ranging business knowledge as a general trading company to support the expansion of JAMPT and promote sales of metal powder and metal products manufactured by the company. Koiwai brings a wealth of experience in parts protoyping using AM machine as well as a background in laminated sand casting. The company is a frontrunner in the metal AM industry, becoming the first company in Japan to receive a manufacturing order using the metal AM method in 2012. Koiwai will leverage its technological strengths in contributing to JAMPTs business. JAMPT aims to reach sales of JPY 100 billion by 2025, and become a world leader in the metal AM industry. The company is building a production plant in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture (an area undergoing reconstruction), and commercial operations are expected to begin in July 2018. Sojitz will continue to collaborate with Miyagi Prefecture and Tohoku University, while simultaneously working to expand the metal AM market from its Miyagi-based production plant to make a social contribution by supporting reconstruction in the area.

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