- Sales figures for 2014 reach the three-digit range for the first time
- Mechanical and plant engineering specialist Concept Laser sees above-average growth in 2014
- “3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” US President Barack Obama, February 2013
Lichtenfels, February, 27/2015: 3D technologies are electrifying the markets with continuous growth reports. Additive manufacturing has long been no secret among experts – it has become a strategic industrial production strategy. In fact, experts predict up to 400% growth for additive manufacturing methods within the next 5 years.
Prognoses like these are forcing the main players in the market to step up their technological and capacity efforts. Concept Laser, as an owner-operated medium-sized business, is relying on organic growth. “We invest nearly 10% of our sales revenue directly in research and development,” says Frank Herzog, President & CEO of Concept Laser. “The conservative and long-term mindset of small and medium-sized businesses offers, in my view, the ideal basis for fully realizing our strengths in the market.”
The company’s efforts in 2014 have clearly paid off: Concept Laser was voted one of Bavaria’s “Best 50” firms by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs for its innovative capacity as well as its entrepreneurial philosophies and practices. The company was also a finalist for the 2014 German Innovation Award for co-developing the first additively manufactured titanium component onboard the Airbus A350 XWB.
2014 Results Reflect Rapid Growth
The fast-growing acceptance of additive manufacturing in the markets and the attractiveness of laser melting systems from the Lichtenfels-based manufacturer are reflected in above-average growth figures. The company received 110 new machine orders in 2014 versus 84 in 2013, a 31% increase. With sales growth in recent years averaging 40-50% annually, sales in 2014 were up 75% from the previous year, driven primarily by large-system sales in the 1000W laser class. The number of employees had also increased as of the end of the 2014 to 103, 30% more than the previous year.
High Innovation Speed
According to President & CEO Frank Herzog, 2014 was the most successful year in the now 15-year history of Concept Laser: “In our competitive environment, we not only kept pace with the rapid growth in the market, we even exceeded it. This was the result of our R&D efforts and continuous product expansion. Today, 160 employees in the group are involved in the LaserCUSING process. At Concept Laser alone, 40 of our 103 staff members work in research and development.”
Key focus areas include series adaptation of multilaser technology for increased building speed, as well as pioneering work in the area of real-time monitoring for quality assurance, known as “QMmeltpool 3D.” Multilaser technology has a direct impact on exposure times, for instance. Empirical values show an increase in build rates of up to 80%. For 2015, Concept Laser has announced an X line 2000R, which will feature two 1000-watt lasers and variable optics.
Capacity Expansion in All Areas
The company’s infrastructure at its headquarters in Lichtenfels was also expanded in 2014 to meet demand, including a brand-new 3,500 m2 production hall, which is nearing completion and will increase machine output by a factor of 2.5. Separate inspection chambers for confidential customer projects and improved delivery times are important considerations for customers. A new, 600 m2 state-of-the-art process development and material research center was also launched in 2014. Last but not least, to meet the enormous demand from the aerospace industry in the US, Concept Laser Inc., with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, was founded in the summer of 2014.
Outlook for 2015
2015 marked the 15-year anniversary of Concept Laser. Throughout its history, the company has been a pioneer and technology groundbreaker with numerous patents and innovative products. Based on extremely solid sales figures and the more than favorable prognosis for additive manufacturing, Concept Laser has announced midterm plans to continuously expand its capacity and develop ambitious new products. The R&D department has been working hard on various projects for LaserCUSING with a focus on increased productivity and effective 3D process monitoring, material qualification and automation. The Benchmark division was also greatly expanded at the beginning of 2015. As a “reference workshop,” Benchmark plays an important service role for customers. In addition to adding more space, the division has increased its capacity to ten machines.
The high demand in recent years has also required changes in logistics, including a new 1,200 m2 logistics center which is slated for operation in Q1 2015. The company will also soon break ground on a new administrative building. The international sales network is slated for further expansion. Concept Laser Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, will add new service staff and will soon occupy a new building with its own showroom. China continues to be one of the fastest-growing sales markets for LaserCUSING. Currently there are concrete plans to increase the company’s presence in the Middle Kingdom with more staff and infrastructure. Frank Herzog, President & CEO of Concept Laser: “I believe we are optimally positioned at all levels to be just as successful and innovative in the future as in the past.”
Concept Laser trade fair appearances
- Inside 3D printing, Berlin (Germany) March 3-4, 2015
- IDS, Cologne (Germany) March 10-14, 2015
- AMUG Conference, Jacksonville (USA) April 19-23, 2015
Concept Laser GmbH
An der Zeil 8
Phone:+49 (0) 9571 1679 – 0
Phone: +49 (0) 9571 1679-251
Reference Keyword: LaserCUSING®
The LaserCUSING® process is used to create mechanically and thermally stable metallic components with high precision. Depending on the application, it can be used with stainless and tool steels, aluminum and titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, cobalt-chromium alloys or precious metals such as gold or silver alloys.
With LaserCUSING®, finely pulverized metal is fused using a high-energy fiber laser. After cooling, the material solidifies. Component contour is achieved by directing the laser beam with a mirror deflection unit (scanner). Construction takes place layer by layer (with each layer measuring 15-100 microns) by lowering the bottom surface of the construction space, then applying and fusing more powder.
Concept Laser systems stand out due to their stochastic control of the slice segments (also referred to as “islands”), which are processed successively. The patented process significantly reduces tension during the manufacture of very large components.
About Concept Laser Overview
Concept Laser GmbH is an independent company based in Lichtenfels, Germany. Since its founding in 2000, it has been a leading innovator in the field of laser melting with the patented LaserCUSING® technology across many industries.
The term LaserCUSING®, a combination of the C from CONCEPT Laser and the word FUSING (to fully melt), describes the technology: the fusing process generates components layer by layer using 3D CAD data. The method allows the production of complex component geometries without tools to create parts that are difficult or even impossible to achieve through conventional manufacturing.
With the LaserCUSING® process, conformal cooling can be used to create tool inserts as well as direct components for the jewelry, medical, dental, automotive and aerospace industries. This applies to prototypes and series parts.
The company offers both standard systems and custom concepts for metal laser melting. With Concept Laser, full-service as an option means that customers can either purchase their own metal laser melting systems or rely directly on service and development services.
Laser machining systems from Concept Laser process powder materials made from stainless steel, hot work tool steels, cobalt-chromium alloy, nickel-base alloy as well as reactive powder materials such as aluminum and titanium alloys. Precious metals such as gold or silver alloys for jewelry making are also an option.
LaserCUSING® offers new perspectives in terms of cost and speed for efficient product development in industries such as:
- Medical and dental technology
- Aeronautics and space industry
- Tool and mold construction
- Automotive and racing
- Mechanical engineering
The systems reduce development time and costs substantially while offering much greater flexibility in product development.
The high quality standards, level of experience and successful track record of Concept Laser guarantee reliable and cost-effective solutions with proven performance in daily production, with a particular focus on unit cost reductions.