Siemens UKGerman technology and engineering giant Siemens plans to more than treble 3D printing hardware at its British operation, Materials Solutions in Worcester, opening up the possibility of serial production of printed parts.

The company is investing £27m ($38.3m) in a new building, due to open in September, that will let Materials Solutions increase the number of 3D printing machines it has from 15 to 50 over the next five years.

Around 55 jobs will be created at the company, which offers engineering and printing services of complete parts to the automotive industry – such as tooling steel for high-pressure aluminium die-casting for engine production – as well as for motorsports, aviation and power generation sectors.

Materials Solutions’ general manager, Phil Hatherley, told Automotive Logistics: “Many of the components produced at this factory are newly designed, embracing the opportunities additive manufacturing provides, without an established supply chain in place. Expansion also gives us the possibility to expand into providing legacy products, where the incumbent supplier is no longer in business.”

The move will also let the company continue to supply the “specialist and demanding” industries it serves, and achieve “a shift in the perception of 3D printing from being a technology associated with prototyping to a viable option for the serial production of additively-manufactured parts,” he said.

Hatherley declined to go into detail but said Material Solutions’ clients included an automotive supplier and companies producing engine and structural components for the motorsport industry. Though the company exports, the UK currently accounts for about 60% of its business.

“This significant investment underlines our belief that there is huge potential for innovation and growth within the additive manufacturing sector,” commented Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK.