After the patron 3D printing bubble of 2014, the marketplace for desktop 3D printers was utterly shaken up as producers seemed for brand new methods their methods may very well be used for industrial purposes. Ultimaker was profitable find giant prospects, resembling Volkswagen Autoeuropa and Airbus, who took on desktop extrusion expertise to assist their giant manufacturing operations. The Dutch firm has now discovered one other important shopper in ERIKS, a worldwide technical components and companies supplier.
With 7,500 staff, ERIKS is an SME that distributes mechanical engineering elements—together with such components as O-rings, valves, transmissions—to over 200,000 prospects within the chemical, meals, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, refining, and metallic sectors. Out of its greater than 300 areas, ERIKS selected its manufacturing amenities in Alkmaar, The Netherlands to deploy six Ultimaker S5 Professional Bundles to assist its operations.
ERIKS has already provided fast prototyping for rubber-like and plastic merchandise utilizing polymer jetting expertise. The corporate then started utilizing 3D printing in-house in 2019 for the fabrication of manufacturing aids, with which it claims it was capable of save over €350,000. The addition of the Ultimaker printers will enable the corporate to work with its shoppers to design and manufacture items. Sander Splinter, managing director at ERIKS Netherlands, explains:
“By combining our trade, product and utility data with the accessible and dependable 3D printing options from Ultimaker, we will totally assist our prospects in co-engineering components with extra velocity and design freedom when utilizing injection moulding. In 2019, we managed to avoid wasting over 350,000 euro solely by implementing 3D printed manufacturing aids and eliminating security hazards in our personal amenities. We are actually regularly serving to our prospects to learn from 3D printing, by advising them based mostly on information evaluation on which components are appropriate to print, but additionally via site-scans at their amenities. Based mostly on these visits we can co-engineer and print the recognized purposes on the Ultimaker S5 Professional Bundle, guaranteeing high quality, reproducibility and reliability of the components in accordance with their particular trade requirements.”
The Alkmaar location additionally features a clear manufacturing facility with EC1935/2004 compliance for food-safe components. Along with devoted clear manufacturing areas, the ability has a large-scale ISO Class 6 cleanroom. Whereas it presently meets European meals security necessities, ERIKS is working to earn FDA compliance and certifications for 3D printing. This could make it attainable for the corporate to 3D print components and instruments that can be utilized in meals manufacturing websites.
Meals manufacturing is among the many many industries adopting additive manufacturing (AM). As an example, Kaak Group, one other Dutch firm, manufactures automated bakery methods for which it now makes use of MetalFAB1 3D printers from Additive Industries. Meals associated components it has printed to this point embody an optimized dough reducing knife, a dough-folding spatula, and a robotic holder for a pizza cutter. The corporate was so taken with 3D printing that it acquired an much more superior MetalFAB1 system and spun out an additive manufacturing-focused service firm referred to as K3D. It’s due to this fact simple to think about how a few of these elements may first be recognized, designed and prototyped in such an area because the ERIKS clear manufacturing facility earlier than going to manufacturing.
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Extra instantly, one can image ERIKS prospects first figuring out strategies for producing instruments, resembling jigs and fixtures, for his or her manufacturing operations. Jos Burger, CEO at Ultimaker, identified that, in accordance with the corporate’s personal 3D Printing Sentiment Index, solely 35 % of corporations have adopted AM.
At this level within the growth of 3D printing, there’s little motive that almost each sizeable manufacturing firm shouldn’t a minimum of use desktop printers for prototyping, if not the manufacturing of instruments. ERIKS is, due to this fact, in a first-rate place to introduce its shoppers to the expertise in order that they could in flip deploy it in-house.
Whereas this cope with Ultimaker may enhance the velocity of AM adoption throughout industries, it’s clearly a useful deal for Ultimaker, as nicely. With ERIKS utilizing the S5 to assist its prospects of their tasks, the corporate would naturally counsel Ultimaker merchandise when the time comes for them to buy their very own machines.
Finally, those self same prospects may even scale up their very own 3D printing capabilities, both turning to service suppliers or buying industrial manufacturing machines to fabricate 3D-printed finish components. If that seems to be the case, one wonders if ERIKS will in the end set up its personal AM manufacturing amenities or if Ultimaker will discover itself working with and even being acquired by an industrial system producer.
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