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CRP Technology celebrates 25 years of activity

A brief look at the story of the company that changed AM with its Windform materials

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CRP Technology has been changing the rules of manufacturing since the mid-90s and this year the company celebrates 25 years of 3D printing advancements.

The broader public may have only discovered additive manufacturing in the last decade, but CRP Technology has been familiar with this technology since 1996. At that time Roberto Cevolini (owner of Roberto Cevolini & Co. high precision CNC machining avantgarde service with roots in the high end automotive/racing world) decided to analyze the 3D printing processes with a clear idea in mind: be able to resolve in advance customers’ issues and offering them never-seen-before technological solutions.

Roberto Cevolini’s son, Engineer Franco Cevolini – VP, CTO at CRP Technology – commented: “My father had a strong drive for bold innovation, a natural predisposition to think beyond that caused him to invent harsh solutions for the most demanding industry sectors.”

Franco Cevolini: CEO of CRP Technology, a leading and pioneering AM service provider and automotive parts manufacturer, developers of the Windform family of composite material powders for powder bed fusion technologies.
Franco Cevolini, CRP Technology.

Thus, in 1996, Roberto Cevolini invested in a “sinterstation” for Selective Laser Sintering; at the time no other company in Italy had one. In order to make their engineering contribution stronger, Roberto Cevolini and his son Franco founded CRP Technology, a subsidiary of Roberto Cevolini & C.

CRP Technology included an R&D department for material development. Franco Cevolini, explained: “Purchasing an industrial 3D printer wasn’t enough for us, we wanted to make a major and stronger contribution: we decided to create a family of 3D printing materials suitable to manufacture high performing parts and applications, which could meet the needs of our F1 customers.”

At the end of the ‘90s, it became evident that Selective Laser Sintering was an excellent technology with limitations imposed by “process-able” materials that were limited in scope to use for traditional non-functional prototyping. CRP Technology’s vocation for bold technological innovations developed something out of the ordinary: the Windform range of composite materials for professional 3D printing.

In 1999, Windform (the name comes from its primary purpose as a wind-tunnel testing material), represented the first hybrid polymer-metal composite (filled with aluminum) to be used for functional prototyping. It proved excellent to satisfy almost all needs for wind-tunnel modeling and allowed aerodynamicists to have a new powerful tool available in order to make functional, fluid-aerodynamic, fitting and assembling tests. Moreover, it proved excellent for direct “in-the-racing-car” applications.

CRP Technology Windform commercial strategy

The Windform family was officially launched, paving the way to transforming rapid prototyping into rapid manufacturing.

Franco Cevolini, who is also the creator of Windform, remembered those years: “Our attitude to create pioneering, high-tech solutions allowed us to be the first to satisfy the most extreme requirements of the F1 industry.

Windform materials’ high mechanical and thermal properties allowed to shift from the manufacture of simple concept models to high-end prototypes and production parts, thanks to their long-lasting performances, stiffness, lightweight.

New Windform materials and new high-tech solutions were produced and launched. These included Windform XT, the first composite polyamide-based material for 3D printing, carbon-fiber-filled, destined to further disrupt the AM market. In the meantime, the Cevolini family expanded to the American market. It was 2008, and they founded CRP USA in Mooresville, North Carolina, the heart of the southern industrial and manufacturing hub, surrounded by aerospace and motorsports communities.

CRP USA started manufacturing on-car and wind tunnel components for racing teams using Windform materials, and has taken this expertise to new heights to produce parts for the space, entertainment, automotive and the most advanced sectors.

In 2015 Windform XT was replaced by Windform XT 2.0, featuring improvements in mechanical properties, including +8% increase in tensile strength, +22% in tensile modulus, and a +46% increase in elongation at break.

CRP Technology celebrates 25 years of activity
An intake manifold 3D printed by powder bed fusion with composite Windform materials by CRP.

In 2019 Windform FR1 was launched worldwide. This was a unique flame retardant (V-0 rated) material for Additive Manufacturing carbon fiber reinforced. Less than a year later, Windform FR2, a flame-retardant polyamide-based glass-fiber-filled material, was introduced.

Today the Windform family comprises 12 materials distributed in two lines, adequate to fulfill the needs of the most advanced and demanding sectors, including aerospace and defense, aviation, robotics, medical, motorsports and automotive.

Important progress has been made in the sector of additive technologies with the development of Windform materials, such as outgas tests for use in space, patch testing for the medical sector, fashion and design and testing of non-conductivity, expanding the use of these in all areas in which a highly durable material is required, offering the opportunity of being processed with high precision CNC machining.

The prototype 0 of the Energica electric superbike, with many parts 3D printed in Windform

Following their obsession for innovation, the Cevolini family constantly re-invented themselves: in 2010 they decided to invest in the new field of sustainable vehicles and created Energica, the first high-performance electric motorcycle Made in Italy. Engineer Livia Cevolini, CEO Energica, commented: “The foundations of the Electric Motor Valley had been laid, and we have been the first to help create it.”

CRP Technology and CRP Meccanica acted as a technological incubator and are still today the lead investors of Energica Motor Company, even as it has become an independent entity. CRP’s high-tech solutions have contributed to Energica’s global success. Energica has been chosen by Dorna as the single manufacturer for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup.

Franco and Livia Cevolini, concurred: “We have been working not only to make the change but to be the change. Day by day, we are building the future.”

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