United Grinding Group establishes joint venture for additive processes with inspire AG

The United Grinding Group, holding company for the machine tools business area in the Körber international technology group, is establishing a joint venture named Irpd AG with the university-affiliated inspire AG. IRPD specialises in additive manufacturing processes such as laser-based processes and 3D printing. The focus of the joint venture is to further develop these cutting-edge production processes and thereby benefit from current research findings. ETH Zurich has made significant investments in inspire AG.

The Irpd AG joint venture, with headquarters in St. Gallen (Switzerland), is the new Centre of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing of the United Grinding Group and is collectively managed by both joint venture partners. Irpd AG concentrates on the manufacture of industrial metal or plastic prototypes, through to the production of (small) series of complex workpieces as a service for customers. The focus is on additive manufacturing processes, particularly Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and 3D printing. IRPD also offers individual technology consulting, reverse engineering, scanning and services for the design and production of complex components.


inspire AG brings significant parts of its own centre of excellence (inspire irpd: institute for rapid product development) to the joint venture. The centre of excellence is the Swiss market and technology leader for the design, production and marketing of additively manufactured products, and serves over 300 industrial customers in Switzerland and neighboring countries.

As one of the world’s leading suppliers in precision machining, the United Grinding Group is a knowledgeable partner for further developing production processes and expanding customer contacts. Stephan Nell, CEO of the United Grinding Group AG, is delighted by this close cooperation.

“IRPD has extensive expertise in cutting-edge production techniques, which we intend to collectively further develop using our experience in industrial series production as a foundation. Additive manufacturing processes are of strategic relevance for us.”


“We see the United Grinding Group as the best possible partner, who will open up outstanding development opportunities through its experience in professional production processes and its international market access”, says Dr. Jürg Krebser, Managing Director of inspire AG.

The location will remain the campus of the former inspire IRPD centre of excellence in
St. Gallen, on the campus of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). This will also facilitate the continuation of knowledge transfer and exchange of experiences in the area of material research, among other things.

For more information contact Retecon Machine Tools on TEL: 011 976 8600 or visit www.retecon.co.za