VOICEOVER NARRATOR: Some 100 years ago, Cincinnati was regarded as the tool manufacturing capital of the world. Fast forward to today, and one of the city’s oldest machine tool builders—Cincinnati Incorporated—is making history again. This time Cincinnati was part of a leading team that in less than a year developed the first large full scale additive manufacturing machine capable of printing the world’s first 3D printed cars. An accomplishment that demonstrates just how far and fast innovation can push new technology into cutting-edge products.
VO: Innovation is nothing new to Cincinnati Incorporated. From the beginning, the company has thrived on its ability to respond to needs in the marketplace.
CHRISTINA MARCH: Cincinnati was started by my great grandfather in the late 1800s when he went down to Texas to drill for oil. And he hit dry bed after dry bed. And instead of drilling for oil he decided it would be smarter to build machinery to drill for oil.
VO: Since then Cincinnati Incorporated’s product line has been known for its endurance and performance and been able to expand to the first linear-motor-driven laser cutting system. That innovative motion system enabled twice the productivity of existing technology of the time and has since become the industry standard.
Today, this fourth-generation-owned company is one of the largest machine tool manufacturers in the United States, with almost 400 employees at its 500-thousand square foot plant and technical center. It’s also the first company in the manufacturing machine tool industry sector to enter the additive manufacturing arena.
RICK NEFF: It’s going to be a great new product for us. We think it’s going to have a significant impact on the marketplace.
VO: Having survived the recession of the early 2000s, the company was looking for a new way to grow its business in the future. Again, this Cincinnati company turned to innovation for answers. The management team recognized a need in the marketplace for large-scale 3D printing of plastic parts.
CRAIG BLUE: With all the buzz, the hype, the excitement around additive, they wanted to know how a 115-year-old company could get involved with additive manufacturing. Real quickly it became obvious that their laser-based cutting system could marry very well with our large-scale additive manufacturing with the ultimate goal of commercializing the technology.
VO: In a matter of weeks Cincinnati’s laser cutting system was modified to include an extruder, a high-speed cutting tool, a pellet feed mechanism and control software. The Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine –called BAAM – operates between 200 and 500 times faster making parts 10 times larger than current additive manufacturing machines—all capabilities that have big implications for a wide variety of industries in addition to automotive, including aerospace, appliance and robotics.
It was almost inevitable that BAAM would capture the attention of Local Motors, a very innovative U.S. vehicle design company. BAAM printed the ‘Strati’ the world’s first printed car in less than 2 days before tens of thousands at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
BLUE: This is a pretty significant move for a company the size of Cincinnati Incorporated and for the country.
VO: This success was followed a few months later with the 3D printing of a second electric car— the famed Shelby Cobra —showcased at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The response from car enthusiasts everywhere was overwhelming.
MATT GARBARINO: It’s the wow factor. You truly get the wow factor. The reality is you have a limitless boundary from the standpoint of your imagination of what you want to create with the BAAM machine.
MARCH: One year ago we were down at Oak Ridge with a very simple gantry system. Less than one year later, here we have this Shelby. // That’s only possible because of the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge working together with us to develop it. And the way that it’s leaping forward in giant steps, almost exponential… as far as our learning curve, is just incredible.
VO: Foundational technology of this kind holds promise to transform tool and die machine manufacturing, create high-quality domestic jobs, and enhance US competitiveness.
GARBARINO: The entire company is excited about our history. But we’re also even more excited about the direction that we’re going. It is going to be driven by our own design initiatives—we have ideas on how we want to make the extruder print faster, larger print areas, material development, but customers are also going to dictate where we’re going with that development process.
VO: What does the success at Cincinnati Incorporated mean for our country? A future that is sustainable, energy efficient, powered by innovation and American-made.