Award-winning desktop 3D printer provider Ultimaker has announced that ERIKS, an international industrial equipment supplier, has scaled up its 3D printing capabilities for OEM and MRO customers using Ultimaker 3D printers.
At its production facilities in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, ERIKS has installed multiple Ultimaker S5 Pro 3D printer bundles. Leveraging the systems, the company has provided its customers with support in identifying, designing and printing applications. With a focus on co-engineering, the company has been able to 3D print parts alongside its customers according to specific industry standards, especially in regards to food safety and cleanliness.
Such a process, Ultimaker claims, has made it easier for professionals working in MRO and OEM industries to adopt 3D printing technology. Jos Burger, CEO at Ultimaker, explains: “As shown in the 3D Printing Sentiment Index, only 35 percent of companies have adopted additive manufacturing, while in many industries worldwide margins are currently under high pressure. Efficiency is key to bring a competitive edge and 3D printing plays a major role in this, as ERIKS experienced first-hand with achieving their impressive cost-and time savings.”
“I am proud to see how ERIKS shares their industry specific expertise and combines it with our reliable Ultimaker ecosystem. I am positive that this collaboration helps to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing and that together we will make the industry work better.”
Food safety compliance with Ultimaker 3D printing
ERIKS is an international service partner for industrial OEM and MRO customers. A multi-product specialist, the company provides its clients with a wide range of products and associated technical and logistics services. It has 7,500 employees working at more than 300 locations worldwide across 17 countries, serving industrial customers in 22 different verticals. In 2019, the company saved over €350,000 by implementing 3D printing for production aids and eliminating safety hazards at its own facilities. ERIKS has been using 3D printing within its workflow for prototypes, jigs, and fixtures, as well as end-use parts with complex design requirements. As such, the technology has not only streamlined the company’s day-to-day operations but also allowed ERIKS to meet its customers’ needs:
“We are now gradually helping our customers to benefit from 3D printing, by advising them based on data analysis on which parts are suitable to print, but also through site-scans at their facilities,” comments Sander Splinter, Managing Director at ERIKS Netherlands.
For example, at its site in Alkmaar, the company is operating a ‘Clean Manufacturing Facility’ for developing parts and tools for use in food production environments. Internally, ERIKS has leveraged 3D printing to create tools that further enhance the onsite safety of the facility. One tool allows workers to remove and replace a large roll of wrapping film in a quick and safe manner. Another 3D printed fixture holds a piece of piping in place, ensuring that a robotic arm welds it with accuracy.
Significantly, the Clean Manufacturing Facility is EC1935/2004 compliant for its 3D printing production, and currently, ERIKS is working on attaining FDA compliances that will allow it to create food-safe 3D printed parts that can be used around the world. As such, the firm has also identified 3D printing as a valuable service to its customers that operate in industries where food safety is key.
To help identify where 3D printing can be of value to its clients, ERIKS performs a site scan of the business. Potentially valuable parts are co-engineered by ERIKS and the customer and are then 3D printed using the company’s Ultimaker S5 3D printers at the Alkmaar facility. These rooms are environmentally controlled areas where the printing process is closely monitored, in order to produce parts that meet stringent health and safety requirements.
Recent developments at Ultimaker
In September 2019, Ultimaker launched its S3 3D printer. Part of the company’s S-Line of systems, which also includes the S5, the S3 was selected to debut at the 2019 TCT Show in the UK. Alongside the release of the S3, Ultimaker also launched the S5 Pro Bundle, which combines the S5 3D printer with the Ultimaker S5 Air Manager for filtration and build control, and the Ultimaker S5 Material Station for storing and feeding filaments.
Earlier in 2019, Ultimaker also announced the relocation of its Geldermalsen-based global headquarters to Utrecht, central to the Netherlands. It also revealed a company rebrand, where it aimed to establish a more professional brand image.
Towards the latter stages of the year, Ultimaker released its first annual 3D Printing Sentiment Index, a dataset created to help the global 3D printing community monitor and identify growth opportunities. The index indicated that in the next two years, 25 percent of businesses surveyed believe that 3D printing will be widely adopted – compared to only 7 percent today. When asked about the trends to watch in 2020, Jos Burger stated: “Across the globe, awareness for the technology is growing and in 2020, we expect more enterprise leaders to put emphasis on bridging the skills gap among employees, and education providers to work to provide students with the necessary skills for future careers in Industry 4.0.”
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Featured image shows Ultimaker S5 3D printers at ERIKS’ facility. Photo via Ultimaker.