ITT enters the 3D printing sector via CRP Technology and CRP USA investments

US-based manufacturing multinational ITT Inc. has invested in 3D printing materials and services providers CRP Technology and CRP USA

Through buying 46% and 33% of the firms respectively, ITT expects to gain insider access to their technologies, in a way that not only benefits its industrial base, but allows it to leverage their Windform materials to bring new products to market. 

“CRP is a smart investment for ITT. With almost three decades of leadership and innovation in additive manufacturing, CRP enables ITT to expand its position in material science and gain hands-on experience with additive manufacturing as the industries we serve continue to transform,” said Luca Savi, CEO and President of ITT. “Together, ITT and CRP can bring to market new products that deliver sustainable, lightweight, durable solutions for our customers.”

“We are proud to partner with CRP as they continue to grow and deliver industry-changing innovations.”

The inside of the Rapid Prototyping Department of CRP Technology. Image via CRP Technology.
CRP Technology’s Rapid Prototyping Department. Image via CRP Technology.

ITT’s custom manufacturing mission 

Formerly known as the ITT Corporation, ITT Inc. is a Connecticut-based manufacturer of specialty parts, designed to overcome application-specific challenges. In the past, this has seen the company address the needs of customers across various sectors, whether that be in reducing the vibrations of high-speed train links, or developing connectors capable of surviving harsh outdoor conditions. 

These exploits have also allowed ITT to establish in-house brands, through which it offers parts that have been developed specifically to overcome common industry pinch points. The firm’s cannon division, for instance, markets a rack & panel filter connector that’s designed to facilitate flight management, while its Bornemann brand’s hygienic SLH-4G pump is said to be ideal for medical or food use cases. 

Having bought a stake in CRP Technology and CRP USA, ITT says it now anticipates being able to better serve its customers in the aerospace, automotive and defense markets. Not just because the investments compliment its own expertise in these areas, but because it sees CRP as a “pioneer in additive manufacturing,” through which it can access a technology it believes to have growing applications.

Aircraft engine parts being developed at one of ITT's facilities. Photo via ITT.
Aircraft engine parts being developed at one of ITT’s facilities. Photo via ITT.

CRP Technology’s ongoing expansion

CRP Technology and CRP USA operate under the CRP Group, a successor to the originally-named Roberto Cevolini & C, which initially specialized in producing custom automotive components and CNC machining parts for Formula 1 teams. Through its CRP Technology subsidiary, the CRP Group has utilized 3D printing since 1996, and it now offers related services via its suite of SLS and HSS systems. 

CRP Technology was also responsible for developing the company’s first Windform material, a polymer that was succeeded by Windform XT in 2005, the first carbon fiber-reinforced composite for SLS 3D printing. Designed to bring the benefits of motorsport materials from the wind tunnel into a wider range of applications, the composite featured enhanced mechanical and thermal properties.

Since the XT’s introduction, CRP Technology has expanded its Windform portfolio, in a way that has enabled them to reach ever more demanding use cases. Using Windform FR2, a flame retardant glass-fiber-reinforced composite, motorbike manufacturer Energica has managed to produce battery pack cell pouch frames.

More recently, CRP Technology has also deployed its Windform SP material to create the ‘Pleko’ single-piece running shoe. Developed alongside middle-distance runner Miro Buroni, and manufactured using powder bed fusion, the footwear’s outsole, midsole and ribbing structures were said to have been made possible by Windform SP, and its “strong characteristics of resistance to bending.”

According to CRP Technology’s CEO Franco Cevolini, gaining the backing of ITT could now enable his company to expand the reach of its technologies “into new global markets,” in a way that “accelerates its growth-focused business plan,” and helps “drive further innovation in the additive manufacturing industry.” 

Miro Buroni's Pleko spike shoes, 3D printed by CRP Technology. Photo via CRP Technology.
Miro Buroni’s ‘Pleko’ spike shoes, 3D printed by CRP Technology. Photo via CRP Technology.

Buying into the 3D printing industry 

Through its investments in CRP, ITT has become the latest in a long line of manufacturers to have acquired a stake in existing 3D printing firms, as a way of entering the industry. Just last July, service bureau Prototek acquired Midwest Prototyping in a deal that was said to make it a ‘one-stop destination’ for low-volume 3D printing, CNC machining and sheet metal manufacturing.

In the aerospace sector, Agile Space Industries also expanded its adoption of the technology during 2021, after it bought 3D printing service bureau Tronix3D. While the firm was already one of its long-term suppliers, it was said that taking control would allow Agile Space Industries to ramp up its R&D of exotic metals, and optimize the performance of the engines it’s developing for upcoming NASA missions. 

Likewise, in the energy services industry, Hunting bought over 25% of Cumberland Additive in September 2021, in a move that marked its first foray into 3D printing. At the time, when the deal was agreed, Hunting said the technology would provide it with “new market and customer opportunities in sectors complementary to its core competencies.”

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Featured image shows the inside of CRP Technology’s Rapid Prototyping Department. Image via CRP Technology.