Mitsubishi Corp, noteworthy for being the largest trading company in Japan, is all set to enter the American 3D printing market this month when it will introduce and sell a metal-forming 3D printer developed by compatriot company Matsuura Machinery. Matsuura produces the hybrid LUMEX Avance-25 system — a single machine platform that combines metal laser sintering with high-speed milling allowing for the production of very precise parts to tight tolerances up to 25 x 25 x 18 cm .
With this sort of pitch, Mitsubishi is set to target manufacturers of aircraft, medical equipment and cell phones. In other words, the type of company that demands precision and has the capital (90 million yen or $845,946) to achieve it. The goal, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, is to deliver the platform to more than 10 firms across North America in the first year.
Accordingly, and as a starting point, Mitsubishi will utilize the experience of an existing group sales unit in the region that currently markets laser machines and electric discharging machines for die manufacturing.
We have reported on 3DPI before how the Japanese, despite a strong economy, are lagging behind the US — and Europe and even China — across the international 3D printing industry. The belief is, supported by this move from Mitsubishi and Matsuura, that the key to unlocking Japanese potential is at the high, metal end of the market.