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Würth and Baker Hughes to collaborate on additive manufacturing solutions

| By Mary Bailey

Würth Industry North America (WINA), a group company of The Würth Group (Kunzelsau, Germany) and Baker Hughes (Houston) announced a joint service offering to expand their capabilities to provide advanced design, digital inventory, and customized 3D printing services to customers in a range of industrial sectors.

WINA, a subsidiary of Würth Group, the world’s largest fastener distribution company, will collaborate with Baker Hughes on advanced design and additive manufacturing opportunities across the oil and gas, renewables, power generation, maritime, automotive, and aerospace industrial sectors, bringing a new level of scale and automation to Würth customers’ supply chains globally. As an energy technology company with proven leadership in additive manufacturing services for oil and gas customers, Baker Hughes will now gain access to Würth’s global customer base with more than 80,000 clients across a host of industries.

“The collaboration with Baker Hughes broadens our offering in 3D printing and beyond,” said Dan Hill, chief executive officer for WINA. “Our existing inventory programs gain a level of automation with no infrastructure change, and we can take our customers’ ideas from prototype to small batch production to mass production at accelerated rates.”

NASA is among the first customers to benefit from the joint service offering. Baker Hughes is adapting and printing a NASA design using a hybrid of direct energy deposition, an additive process, and machining to manufacture a part to be used in wind tunnel testing.

Würth’s global sales teams will now offer Baker Hughes’ proven additive manufacturing services to help customers solve advanced design and manufacturing challenges and 3D print parts on demand. These expanded services also include access to Baker Hughes’ digital inventory capabilities that transform warehouse shelves into cloud storage. Through a combination of machine learning algorithms, past maintenance records, production forecasts, and other documentation, Baker Hughes can select parts suitable for additive manufacturing, digitalize these parts, and provide on-demand ordering using a digital platform.

“The total cost of ownership is astronomical in these industries,” said AJ Strandquist, director of 3D printing for Würth Industry North America. “There are opportunities to supplement the traditional supply chain with additive manufactured products to create a better customer experience. That is our mission together.”

Through digital inventory management, parts can be stored and produced at hubs closer to operating sites. As the technology advances, more materials and geometries – both in terms of size and features – will become printable. Larger volumes of 3D printed items provide for a higher degree of customization, allowing customers to reduce supply chain logistics-related emissions by moving production closer to the point of consumption.

“Now more than ever, industrial companies are looking for innovative manufacturing solutions to reduce lead times and eliminate physical inventories, while reducing the carbon footprint of operations, and we believe additive manufacturing plays an important role,” said Scott Parent, chief technology officer for Digital Solutions at Baker Hughes. “By combining our advanced design and additive manufacturing capabilities with Würth’s global customer base, we can expand the scope and scale of our services outside of oil and gas. We are excited to can take advantage of this opportunity and transform the future of work.”