Over the past 19 years since the introduction of its metal technology, EOS has been building up a champion in powder-based, industrial 3D printing that combines the pioneering spirit of the early years with its meanwhile longstanding AM expertise. In 2001, with the launch of the EOSINT M 250, EOS introduced its DMLS metal technology which soon became a seal of quality. EOS has built upon this foundation to create the fourth-generation system – the EOS M 290 – that is the benchmark for reliability, repeatability, and quality in the AM metals market.

Eos M 290: Boringly Reliable

The EOS M 290 system has been used in serial production for over six years. An EOS customer recently called the EOS M 290 system ‘boringly reliable’. Others rate it as one of the most stable systems or as the workhorse of the industry. As of today, EOS has a global installed base of over 1,500 metal mid-frame systems, 900 of which are the EOS M 290, making it one of the best sellers to date. Approximately 50 percent of these are qualified for production applications in regulated industries such as aerospace or medical.

US-based I3D Manufacturing started their business in 2014. Today the company owns 6 EOS M 290 systems. Erin Madrigal, CEO at I3D says: “When we started our business we decided to work with EOS due to their longstanding company history and technology expertise. With the EOS M 290, we know that the 3D printed part will meet our customers’ specifications. It is a very reliable system. There is also no comparison when it comes to quality.”

“With an average uptime of 97.5%, the company is producing around 15,000 parts per year.”

With its 20 materials, EOS currently offers the most extensive range of validated materials and processes available on the market, covering all customer needs. The materials portfolio ranges from aluminium to cobalt chrome, copper, maraging steel, nickel, stainless steel, tool steel, and titanium alloys.

Both the comprehensive EOSTATE monitoring suite for quality assurance of all production- and quality-relevant data in real-time, and EOSPRINT for process optimisation for a quick and easy job and workflow management, are ideal for production.

The Top Choice For High Quality And High Productivity

What EOS hears from the market is that the well-established system is very robust, ensuring reliably high performance. UK-based Progressive Technology has a machine park of three EOS M 290 and two predecessor systems, among others, serving primarily the motorsports and F1 industry. With an average uptime of 97.5%, the company is producing around 15,000 parts per year.

“Additive manufacturing at Progressive Technology has been steadily gaining traction over the past few years,” states Jon Vickers, Operations Manager. “We see EOS systems as a reliable industry standard for AM. Having worked with EOS metal machines for 14 years, I am an advocate for their systems. EOS has always proven itself to be a class-leading AM solution provider. The technology enables additively manufactured components suitable for a broad spectrum of industries, enabling best quality components when it comes to mechanical properties, surface, and aesthetic finish along with competitive pricing as a function of build speed.”

The Longest Legacy In Metal Additive Manufacturing

As the fourth generation, the EOS M 290 system builds on the legacy of its predecessors. Taking a system that was already heavily used in aerospace and medical serial production, further improvements in manufacturing were made when it comes to reliability and repeatability. A recently published extensive capability study shows that the EOS M 290 with EOS Titanium Ti64ELI has a minimum Four Sigma process capability for density, geometrical accuracy and surface roughness properties; six sigma capability for tensile and yield strength properties.

Several EOS customers, like Swiss-based Ecoparts, first invested in an EOSINT M 270, grew with additional EOSINT M 280s, and continue to invest in EOS M 290 systems. Today, Ecoparts owns eight EOS M 2xx systems (five EOS M 290, two EOSINT M 270, one EOSINT M 280) and plans to further expand in its new location. One-third of its business is in tooling but mechanical engineering applications are on the rise too. Daniel Kündig, one of the founders of Ecoparts, adds: “When we started our business it was very clear that we wanted to be at the forefront of the 3D printing manufacturing revolution. We invested early (2007) on and in EOS we found the perfect technology partner. With the EOS M 290, we found the ideal workhorse to meet the requirements of our demanding customers.”

Italy-based Lincotek Additive started to look into metal 3D printing back in 2006, clearly favouring the powder-based process EOS offers as it was one of the first free-form AM technologies capable of manufacturing objects made of titanium alloys in compliance with the applicable standards of implantable materials at a reasonable investment cost.

Today, the company has 19 EOS systems, among them 14 EOS M 290, operating in three countries (Italy, Switzerland, USA). It mainly serves medical/orthopaedics, industrial gas turbines, and aviation with their 3D printed parts. With the EOS M 290, Lincotek is delivering more than 100,000 units per year, can run AM with OEE above 90%.

Winfried Schaller, Lincotek, Group CEO, concludes: “Being a pioneer in the additive market is something that has allowed Lincotek to become the contract manufacturer of choice in the additive field. As Lincotek Additive, we offer our customers a real contract manufacturing alternative in serial additive manufacturing, enhanced by end-to-end capabilities like e.g. coatings and precision machining if needed. We are very excited to be in this fast-growing sector offering unique, reliable and economic customer-focused supply chain solutions.”

South African Metal 3D Printing Service Bureau

Akhani 3D, South Africa’s only Print-to-Product Industrial and Production Additive Manufacturing bureau service, installed an EOS M 290 in the last quarter of 2019. The initial focus is on copper, maraging steel, stainless steel, and tool steel for aviation, tooling, and mechanical engineering applications.

AM as You Go™, is a unique product that Akhani 3D offers, that solves a number of challenges companies face when adopting AM technologies into their workflow:

  • Selecting parts best suited for AM optimisation and cost-effective serial production.
  • Optimising part designs to a Designed for Additive Manufacturing paradigm that incorporates;
    • Lightweighting of components (lower material usage cost is an added benefit).
    • Topology optimisation.
    • Part component reduction (post-production and part assembly optimisation).
    • Complex part features that are infeasable in traditional manufacturing.
    • Serial production optimisation.
  • A single purchase order for multiple parts and design iterations (no need to raise a separate order each time you need to 3D print a part).
  • Job prioritisation.

These are just a few of the many EOS M 290 customers.

Source: This article is adapted from the original article in TCT Magazine, sponsored by EOS (Rapid 3D is the Authorised Partner for EOS in sub-Saharan Africa)

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