Mitsui Seiki is a machine tool builder that aims to excel in the area of precision. It provides machines, often custom-engineered, to meet machining challenges related to high-value parts with particularly demanding tolerances. Therefore, the company’s introduction of additive manufacturing as a capability it can now deliver might seem like an odd fit. Additive manufacturing—building up parts or features through a controlled process of adding material in layers—cannot by itself achieve anything like the fine tolerances that machining can.
But Robb Hudson, technology and business development manager for the company, says additive manufacturing is an addition to machining that brings both design freedom and process efficiency to complement machining’s precision. And by consolidating more of a part’s processing into a single machine, it potentially reduces part handling, which facilitates precision as well. During the past year or more that the company has been preparing to come to market with additive capability, he says, it has been experimenting with how to use metal cutting and metal deposition effectively within the same machine tool, without having to compromise the effectiveness or promise of either capability.

Read more: Integrating Additive Manufacturing without Inhibiting Machining