Leading powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printer provider EOS has announced the launch of its new End-to-End Production Network to connect companies seeking serial 3D printing support with its certified partners.
The move expands EOS’ existing contract manufacturing network to offer end-to-end production, with Scandinavia’s largest additive manufacturing company Prototal unveiled as the first certified contract manufacturer to join the network.
“With more than 30 years of experience in offering comprehensive additive manufacturing solutions, EOS understands market requirements for AM series production,” said Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President EMEA at EOS.
“With this network we want to create added value for both parties involved – those offering manufacturing services and those in search for it.”
Over three decades of 3D printing
Since its founding in 1989 by Dr Hans Langer, EOS has built its reputation as a pioneer in the field of DMLS 3D printing and grown to become one of the largest additive manufacturing firms in the world.
Over the years, the company has continued to drive innovation within the 3D printing sector through various R&D partnerships and new joint venture subsidiaries to increase the adoption of additive manufacturing across the globe. This year saw the firm hit several key milestones, such as the delivery and installation of its 1,000th 3D printer in North America, and becoming the first alongside 3D printing service provider Materialise to qualify flight-ready polymer parts for Airbus.
The company also plays an active role in driving 3D printing education, having expanded its Additive Minds Academy online training program to the US market in April last year following its successful launch in Europe. Other education-focused initiatives EOS has championed include student design challenges and joint venture partnerships to provide technical knowledge on topics such as Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), part screening and selection, and topology optimization, in addition to the launch of its new student scholarship program, EOS Affirms, to open up STEM education opportunities to minority groups.
The end-to-end production network
Introducing end-to-end production workflows is one 2022 3D printing trend identified by multiple industry leaders that will become increasingly vital for firms looking to scale up their 3D printing operations going forwards.
EOS’ new partner network aims to connect start-ups, mid-sized companies and OEMs with certified member manufacturers to deliver 3D printed parts to the market at speed and in high volumes. The network will seek to find the right production partner for these companies in order to bring their products to life at scale while removing hurdles such as finding the right manufacturing method and how to organize part production.
To achieve this, EOS has expanded its existing contract manufacturing network with an end-to-end production element providing services from part design and DfAM, to manufacturing, post-processing, quality assurance and assembly.
“This will take much of the complexity and risk out of choosing a manufacturing partner for serial production businesses, with the most innovative product designs,” said Glasser. “They will be able to bring products to market faster, using the latest state-of-the-art 3D printing technology, and draw on the vertical industry expertise and know-how within the network.”
Through the partner network, EOS is able to identify the best application and technology framework to suit a business’ requirements and consult them on the benefits and drawbacks of in-house and external production. If a third-party production partner is the best choice, then EOS’ end-to-end production network partners will be able to help businesses mitigate these risks and move rapidly to final serial part production on a large scale.
Certified network partners will bring their expertise from a range of manufacturing technologies to help these businesses ramp up their production, while simultaneously ensuring quality standards and met and providing support during each stage of the manufacturing process.
According to EOS, customers choosing to work with members of its End-to-End Production Network will be safe in the knowledge that all partners have been assessed to verify not only their financial security and competence, but also that they possess leading industry and application expertise, particularly within heavily certified industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical.
Becoming a certified production partner
To become a partner in the network, firms must go through a certification process and demonstrate they have sufficient end-to-end production capabilities.
Firms wishing to join the network must also have a deep understanding of serial production requirements and have “proven excellence” in each production step. Essentially, network partners should enable firms in search of a production partner to realize serial 3D printing on an industrial scale, and across a wide range of industries.
The first certified partner to join the EOS End-to-End Production Network is Prototal, reportedly Northern Europe’s largest supplier in industrial 3D printing, vacuum casting, and injection molding. Having been an EOS customer for more than two decades, Prototal is equipped with more than 50 EOS polymer systems to offer end-to-end 3D printing capabilities for large-scale serial production.
“It is with great pride that we become the first member of the EOS End-to-End Production Network,” said Jan Löfving, CEO at Prototal. “At our various sites across Europe Prototal Industries for many years has built up the competence and the knowledge in how to additively manufacture larger series.”
The production partner network will be initially set up in the EMEA region and is set to expand further in the coming months.
“The future looks bright for the technology in terms of even further developments in automation and more sustainable production,” Löfving added. “3D printing really is a production method offering great benefits. And EOS is one of our most valuable partners.”
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Featured image shows a manufacturing facility filled with EOS polymer 3D printers. Photo via EOS.