Rapid Prototyping & The Promise of 3D Printing Metal



EOS’ Glynn Fletcher Discusses the Potential of Metal 3D Printing


One of the greatest rapid prototyping conferences, RAPID + TCT saw many amazing innovations from industry giants as well as newbies. Among them, EOS really stood out due to the plethora of announcements that went out of its doors. However, the company did not have any new highlights per se. According to the President of EOS North America, Glynn Fletcher, the company did not aim for any new gimmicks either. Instead, they are looking forward and are striving to gain more and more experience in the additive manufacturing industry. Their goal is to offer support, services, and solutions in order to provide the best experience possible to the users of 3D printing technology.


Fletcher believes that additive manufacturing and 3D printing are going through a rather dynamic change at the moment. The proof lies in the fact that before last year’s RAPID conference, this year’s show wouldn’t have seen this much diversity, professionalism and the sheer number of participants. The industry is maturing, growing out of rapid prototyping and going towards the true phase of production. All these changes are also bringing forward new challenges.


EOS as a company has set its current goal in putting itself at the very forefront of providing solutions. This is being done so that these new challenges can be addressed and the company can hold a sure position in the 3D printing scene. An entire infrastructure is already in place for the traditional ‘subtractive’ manufacturing businesses. Yet, as Fletcher pointed out, the additive manufacturing infrastructure is still in its evolving stage. EOS put its emphasis on building this additive manufacturing infrastructure so that new customers look toward the potential of adopting this technology. The early businesses and individuals who took to adopting this technology were more forgiving. They seemed to be more tolerant of being new to rapid prototyping and 3D printing; hence they did not mind the overwhelming atmosphere. However, those now coming into the 3D printing scene as clients are not as tolerant. They would rather do away with the occasional bumps on the road. Hence, noted Fletcher, comes the necessity of a service provider that they can turn to. Clients want a fully serviceable ecosystem and a supported system that they can readily adopt. Keeping these needs of the customers in mind, EOS is keen on establishing themselves a leader position in quality assurance. Hence, the company is eager to help out with infrastructure.



Additive Minds

Fletcher also spoke about the growth strategies of EOS as the rapid prototyping industry gradually grows. At RAPID + TCT he elaborated on these strategies. One of the big drivers for the company lately has been its Additive Minds section. This division has been working relentlessly with notable partners such as car manufacturer Audi, with the goal to facilitate direct customer engagement so that a full understanding of additive solutions can be achieved. Working from the inner rims of a customer’s business, Additive Minds makes sure that they can make the most out of any 3D printing system that is brought in. Fletcher explains that they offer design advice on pre and post processing stages of additive manufacturing. The objective here is to do some risk minimization so that clients can optimize their solutions in a hassle-free way.


Fletcher does not want any of EOS’ customers to regret making an investment in additive manufacturing solutions. If any customer happens to regret their decision, it is due to the fact that they had more expectations from the product in the first place. As a result, they set their aspirations a bit too high. Similarly, many clients think that additive manufacturing is the transformative edge in their business, but in order to make the best use of it, they have to do their homework first.


Therefore, keeping abreast of the latest information is crucial while making new investments. EOS remains committed especially to ensure that the clients have realistic expectations, the relationships are built on a solid ground and that support is available whenever needed. EOS aims to advance their as well as the industry’s technology by building this infrastructure. Fletcher notes that companies often take their technology as the best for granted. Their customer support program is going to help them realize their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can improve upon their features.



Lifecycle Solutions

Another great service that EOS provides is their lifecycle solutions. While Additive Minds does the job of giving support to customers’ pre and post sales, this lifecycle solution offers support for a longer term. Fletcher says that this service provides the necessary resource continuously in order to realize the full potential of any materials, services or equipment. This aims to increase the level of comfort of the customer throughout the lifecycle of the product. This is especially important as additive manufacturing moves towards offerings on a production scale beyond rapid prototyping. The available solutions must address the unique demands of full-throttle manufacturing. For example in rapid prototyping, it would not cause as much turmoil if the service technician arrives after a day or two. However, it will have serious implications in case of manufacturing, causing great delay in production.


The EOS booth at the RAPID + TCT venue also featured Germany-based DyeMansion. The company announced that it would very soon step into the North American market. This young company has been making really promising progress recently. The CEO and Sales Manager of the company displayed the coloring solution they provide for 3D printed parts, along with many examples of the product.



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