Cutting Edge Additive Technology on Show at Matsuura’s New AM Centre

As part of its 3-day grand opening event, we visited Matsuura Machinery‘s new additive manufacturing facility in Leicestershire to get to grips with the latest developments in 3D printing and to speak about the company’s impressive recent growth in additive manufacturing.

Matsuura Machinery announced an expansion into the facility adjacent to its HQ in Coalville, Leicestershire, in the summer of 2021. This week, the purpose-built additive manufacturing centre was open to visitors for the first time as part of a 3-day open-house event to mark its grand opening.

Traditionally a name associated with CNC machining, Matsuura has built an impeccable reputation for supplying quality machinery, supported by unrivalled UK-based service and support infrastructure. The company expanded its offering into additive manufacturing machinery and equipment around five years ago and has since seen impressive growth in the sector, becoming one of the UK’s premier 3D printing solution suppliers.

Investment in Additive

The new facility, pictured above, is 11,500 square feet of showrooms, offices and stores dedicated entirely to additive manufacturing. Matsuura believes this shows the market they’re not playing around with their focus on additive, and this purposely renovated facility is proof of their long-term commitment to the additive manufacturing industry. It is the only centre of its kind in the UK.

Visitors browse the range of machinery and components on display.

Speaking about the investment back in August 2021, Roger Howkins, Managing Director of Matsuura Machinery, said:

“This substantial investment is the culmination of our success in supplying automated CNC machine tools to an expanding UK customer base and reflects our phenomenal recent growth in the additive manufacturing sector.”

“This expansion and investment is a demonstrative sign of our confidence in UK manufacturing, and reflects the current pressure we have for more operational capacity to serve our customers, and also delivers us more business options as we grow in the future.”

The grand opening event, held at the Leicestershire facility from the 10th to 12th May, invited customers, clients, partners and press to see Matsuura’s class-leading technology in action, with live demonstrations of a complete AM workflow and experts from Matsuura and its additive partners on hand to provide their expertise. With around 50 guests expected each day, the facility was bustling with activity, and it was an excellent opportunity to discuss the realities of additive manufacturing with experts and users alike.

The Full AM Workflow on Show

We spent some time with Matsuura’s Additive Engineer James Brown, who left us feelin’ good after his demonstration of the HP MJF 5200, HP’s premier full-production printer. We followed a batch of components out of the HP printer, into the post-processing station for cooling, then excess powder removal, before moving into the DyeMansion equipment range for a series of post-processing procedures (pictured, below).

Additive Engineer James Brown giving demonstrations on post-processing.

After ten minutes cycling on the DyeMansion Powershot C, the appearance of the components was significantly improved. Excess powder and residue are removed by the blasting nozzles and ionising unit within the Powershot C, blasting the components from every angle with a specially designed media.

Now clean and powder-free, the components were ready for the next stage of the process – colouring using the DyeMansion DM60, which was also on display at the event. Following the dying procedure, James explained the other finishing options available and how these options can change depending on the application of the component.

Pointing at the many samples in its showroom, James highlighted components that ended up on racing cars, yachts, luxury vehicles and more. The yacht component, for example, needs to be water, chemical and corrosion resistant to maintain proper function, which can be achieved using the DyeMansion PowerFuse S, also on display at the event.

The PowerFuse S uses a powerful solvent in a vacuum chamber to alter the surface of the components, leaving the surface sealed and washable, with minimum surface roughness. The final parts end up with a pleasing, high-end glossy finish and gain essential functionality.

Matsuura Showroom
A range of 3D printed components on show, in metal, plastic, and carbon fibre.

Real Growth, from Real Customers

Speaking to one of the organisers of the event, Matsuura’s Ian Michie, we asked what the goals for the event were; Ian said:

“The aim of this open day is to show the level of investment that Matsuura is putting into the additive manufacturing sector. We’ve experienced strong growth over the past few years, real growth from real customers. We now have over 45 HP MJF 3D Printing machines in the field in the UK, for example, all serviced and supported by Matsuura.

“Matsuura may be a name synonymous with CNC, and it remains a prestigious brand in this space with lots of history and heritage, but additive manufacturing is also a huge focus for us moving forward. From the level of investment in our new facility, you can see that we’re not playing around with additive – this is a long-term investment and will be a fantastic base to serve our customers from for many years to come.”

Initially partnering with HP 3D Printing to distribute and support its MJF range of printers around five years ago, the range of machinery available from Matsuura continues to grow to this day. Now supporting additive manufacturing of metals as well as plastics and composites, Matsuura is an official partner with other global additive brands such as DyeMansion, Desktop Metal, ETEC, and offers a unique technology with its LUMEX Series, a machine capable of both additive and subtractive manufacturing.

A Day to Remember

From spending a few hours at the facility, it was clear that Matsuura is a highly knowledgeable, passionate advocate for additive manufacturing. As a relative newcomer to the 3D printing space, it was enlightening to be able to visualise each stage of the manufacturing process under one roof. It gave us a practical and realistic understanding of the technology’s benefits and limitations, with experts on hand to answer any questions we had.

Renowned for its high level of customer service, machinery support, and as a ‘full-service’ provider, the Matsuura additive facility is a fantastic location to introduce the technology and learn how additive manufacturing could benefit your business in the future.

Although the open days this week are booked to capacity, if you would like to experience the facility for yourself, contact Matsuura directly to organise your own visit.

Thank you, especially to Matsuura’s Sam, Ian and James, for your hospitality during the event and for your patience with our endless questions! It was an insightful day personally, and the impressive facility is a strong statement from Matsuura regarding their future commitment to the additive manufacturing industry.

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