Source: 3D Printing Industry | Corey Clarke | March 14, 2017

The 3D printed excavator which was developed by Oakridge National Laboratory (ORNL) as part of Project AME. Photo via ORNL.

The 3D printed excavator which was developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) as part of Project AME. Photo via ORNL.

Global construction company Caterpillar Inc, headquartered in Illinois, has announced a three-year partnership with German additive manufacturing group FIT AG. The partnerships is to 3D print aluminium and titanium parts for Caterpillar’s range of large-scale machinery.

3D printed excavator

At the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show 2017 in Las Vegas, 3D Printing Industry reported on the “world first” 3D printed excavator/digger from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Project AME excavator incorporated 3D printing to manufacture the machine’s stick, cab and heat exchanger.

Caterpillar also exhibited at the show in Las Vegas, and this partnership may be taking some of Oak Ridge’s initiative to heart.

Carl Fruth, CEO of FIT AG, says,

Caterpillar is a world leader in many markets, which will benefit greatly from additive manufacturing.

In the past, FIT AG also supported desktop selective laser sintering (SLS) company Sinterit with €1.1 million in funding. The Polish 3D printing company used the funds to help launch the LISA SLS 3D printer.

3D printing at Caterpillar

Caterpillar’s Additive Manufacturing Project Manager, Stacey DelVecchio, spoke about the partnership,

Caterpillar has a long history of creating innovative products designed to fit the needs of our customers and entering into a strategic alliance with a leader in additive manufacturing will help further that tradition. Not only will Caterpillar now have access to FIT AG’s cutting-edge technologies in additive manufacturing but this alliance will also help accelerate our adoption of 3D printing.