Machine tool giant DMG Mori has surprised the industry with the introduction of a centre that both mills metal and adds it to a workpiece. The company showed a prototype of the unit at Euromold 2013, and we discussed the technology with its developers.
If you wanted a closer look at DMG Mori’s unit for additive and subtractive manufacturing at Euromold, you generally had to wait in line. The Lasertec 65 Additive Manufacturing unit, based on a DMU Monoblock machine tool, offers both the well-proven technology of milling as well as up-and-coming metal additive manufacturing through laser deposition, and it proved quite the draw. Greg Hyatt, senior vice-president and chief technical officer at DMG Mori USA and Friedemann Lell, sales director at the Sauer Lasertec unit discussed the technology, which was developed by Sauer Lasertec.
Related: More on the machine
ETMM: You've talked about this machine as an example of a “disruptive technology”.
Hyatt: A professor at Harvard Business School (Clayton M. Christensen) defines this as something that compels the customer to buy completely different solutions from completely different suppliers. One of his examples was the automobile, which was not a disruptive technology as it was initially so expensive that it had no impact on the demand for horse-drawn vehicles. However the introduction of the mass-produced automobile was disruptive. Henry Ford’s Model T devastated the traditional suppliers of horse-drawn wagons. It is important to recognize that it is always the new value-proposition to the customer which powers the disruption, not just the technology. Our hybrid is a perfect example. We did not invent the automobile, or in this case the laser or the milling spindle, but we are combining existing technologies to provide new value propositions and to enable new business plans, like the mass-produced automobile.
Lell: In our case it's not exactly what you would call a “disruptive technology” but rather the intelligent combination of existing technologies.
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