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2015/05/04

Körber Subsidiary United Grinding Group AG plans joint venture for additive process with inspire AG

Clear focus on innovation: On May 1, 2015, Körber subsidiary United Grinding Group signed a cooperation agreement with university-affiliated inspire AG for a joint venture that will specialize in additive production processes. This includes a variety of laser-based processes as well as 3D printing. The joint venture, which will be managed col-lectively by both partners, will develop a future-oriented production process and thereby benefit from current research results. ETH Zurich has made significant in-vestments in inspire AG.

The joint venture, named “Irpd AG”, with headquarters in St. Gallen (Switzerland) concentrates on the manufacture of industrial metal or plastic prototypes up to the production of small series of complex work pieces. As a result, the joint venture focuses on innovative production processes, in particular on Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and 3D printing. With this joint venture, the United Grinding Group expands its competence outside the Körber Group’s Business Area of tool machines with future-oriented additive production processes and laser-based production technology.

inspire AG brings parts of its own center of excellence, inspire IRPD (inspire Institute for Rapid Product Development), to the joint venture. By working with United Grinding, inspire IRPD gets a knowledgeable partner to work with on further developing and professionalizing production processes. "As one of the world’s leading providers in hard finishing, we are the ideal partner for inspire IRPD with our experience in standardized production and knowledgeable customer approach," confirms Stephan Nell, CEO of United Grinding Group AG. "The company offers extensive expertise in future-oriented production techniques which we would like to jointly develop on the basis of our experience in industrial series production."

"We are pleased to be able to further expand our activities in this important, future-oriented field together with inspire IRPD, an institute with excellent technological expertise," confirms Richard Bauer, CEO of the Körber Group. "Additive production processes are of strategically high relevance for us as an innovative technology group."

inspire AG welcomes the opportunity for cooperation: "We see United Grinding Group as the best partner for unlocking the excellent development potential of the joint venture with its experience in professional production processes and its international market access," says Dr. Jürg Krebser, Chairman of the management board of inspire AG. "We are enthusiastic in particular about the solid positioning and the long-term focus for this cooperation."

The location will remain the campus of inspire IRPD in St. Gallen on the grounds of the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing (EMPA). This will facilitate among other things the continuation of the knowledge transfer and the exchange of experiences in the area of material research between the centers of excellence.

Press release on 5.4.2015(pdf):