With the future of manufacturing slated to go completely digital to gain flexibility and increase efficiency, EOS has been taking rapid strides in introducing the concept of Additive Manufacturing in various production sectors. In this interview with Huned Contractor, the company’s country manager for India, Anand Prakasam, elaborates about what EOS has to offer
Anand Prakasam, Country Manager-India, EOS
At the FormNext exhibition held from November 14-17 at Germany, one of the companies that made a splash was EOS, a leading technology supplier in the field of industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers. It showcased its latest and growing portfolio of additive manufacturing (AM) systems and software solutions. By providing 3D printing solutions for a highly flexible and efficient production on an industrial scale, EOS is shaping the future of manufacturing and launched the EOS P 500, its newest polymer system.
“Customers benefit from maximum productivity, automation readiness and the ability to process polymer materials which require operating temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius. As such, the system is addressing the requirements of those customers wanting to introduce an industry scale mass production of high-quality polymer parts based on additive manufacturing,” a press note states. In this interview, Anand Prakasam, Country Manager, EOS India, elaborates about how the company will help Indian manufacturing companies to scale up their production and usher in production efficiency:
EOS is the world’s leading technology supplier in the field of industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers. Formed in 1989, the independent company is a pioneer and innovator for comprehensive solutions in additive manufacturing. We enable our customers to produce high-quality products using our industrial 3D printing technologies. Established in Germany, EOS entered the Indian market in 1998 and is at the cusp of the manufacturing revolution in India. In India, we are headquartered in Chennai with representative offices in Bangalore and Delhi.
EOS owns an 80% market share in India and has a presence in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, tooling, healthcare including dental, amongst others. One of our key differentiators is that we offer customised solutions and not just systems and master the three key factors that impact the quality of a part: systems, materials and the build process, including customized process parameters. What we believe differentiates us in the Indian market is our consulting program called Additive Minds, which we started a year ago. What we have learnt from over 300 consulting projects in the last few years is that companies deciding to implement industrial 3D printing in their organisation normally go through four typical stages and very often still need assistance in this process – which EOS can offer at all stages besides machine trainings. These stages are – finding the application, developing the application, ramping up the application and certifying and scaling the production. Implementing the technology will induce a disruptive transformation not only in the markets these companies are serving but in their own organisation as well. EOS provides consultancy to these companies on their way to a successful implementation of the AM process. Through this initiative, we not only provide the technology, but also assist in the integration of the technology into a customer’s shop floor so that they can deliver better experience to their end customers.
Additive Manufacturing is still at a nascent stage in India as far as manufacturing is concerned. However, now more and more industries are opening up to the technology. In most cases, the general assumption is that AM is a very expensive process. This lack of awareness makes OEMs hesitant about incorporating AM solutions to make their entire production process more cost-efficient and thereby gain a price advantage. Also, many large-sized manufacturers do not have control over the original designs and are mostly focused on making and assembling components for the final products. Therefore, it is difficult for them to incorporate AM right from the design stage to take the benefit as AM enables a design-driven manufacturing. So true change and consequent added value already needs to start during the design process.
However, that being said, we are seeing an increased awareness about the technology and more companies are open to shifting to serial manufacturing. For instance, in industries such as aerospace and automotive the adoption is quite high. In fact we have recently worked for the first ever 3D manufactured component for ISRO, as part of our partnership with Wipro 3D. Additionally, we are seeing sectors such as healthcare and lifestyle that are warming up to AM solutions. In my opinion, the sentiment is favourable and there are numerous opportunities that will unfold gradually.
Recently, EOS and Wipro collaborated to engineer a component for ISRO known as the North-West Feed Cluster 2×2 – also India’s first ever additively manufactured component to go into space. This component was a part of GSAT19 communications satellite and was launched in June 2017. The satellite carried with itself technologies related to feed realisation, 3D printed components along with hybrid CFRP technology on ISRO safelights. Using Additive Manufacturing technology ensured that the product was redesigned to become lightweight and more customised for the purpose of this journey out of space. The material used for manufacturing this component was aluminum. The component cleared various tests and validations, including assembly vibration test, climatic test and RF tests before it took flight. This is a significant feat in EOS’s journey and has helped establish us as an industry leader whose path-breaking technology was utilised for this satellite.
We feel that the way forward is to develop the ‘smart factories’ using AM where we visualize the future of manufacturing to go completely digital to gain flexibility and increase efficiency. Since there are not many published data on market size we can refer to the 6W research report, where India’s 3D printer market is projected to cross USD 79 million by 2021, representing a large potential market for this technology, making larger companies also realise the potential in such a market. Once implemented, this technology will not only aid in the production of spare parts but also in the production of newer models and we look forward to see how the industry advances. Talking for EOS, India is an aggressive market and we expect it to grow exponentially. Manufacturers are slowly realising the benefits of using cutting-edge technology like Additive Manufacturing and we are witnessing an increase of acceptance for the same. It is because of this reason that we are looking at a 30% year-on-year growth as a company. The three biggest sectors for us are automotive, aerospace and dental and we are very much in the growth trajectory of the Indian 3D printing market. We see the adoption growing predominately in tooling, automotive, medical and dental. We have the technology and we offer the skills and infrastructure to support Indian companies while they upgrade.
As I have mentioned before, even though companies are aware of the advantages of Additive Manufacturing, it is the lack of knowledge, and to a certain extent, skill, that is missing. It’s not about mass awareness, but targeted awareness creation and we can do this for every industry by organising seminars and other events to familiarize companies about our consulting services. Apart from that, if the government can support new initiatives such as ‘Design in India’, this will then give us an opportunity to create an optimized product from scratch and reduce the costing as such will help the AM market to grow fast.
Any production technology that enters the market is majorly introduced to supplement and also overlap with conventional or existing methods. This new production method will provide value to the companies on the overall life cycle of the product. EOS has a vision that for the factory of the future through its end-to-end additive manufacturing solutions and services, including the Additive Minds consultancy group. Industries such as medical, aerospace, dental and tooling will require solutions to enable faster, cheaper, high quality and large-scale part production in the future. We understand the challenges of our customers with regards to Industry 4.0 and the need for increased productivity.
EOS recently launched the EOS P500, its newest polymer system during FormNext 2017. This particular system addresses the requirements of those customers wanting to introduce an industry scale mass production of high quality polymer parts based on additive manufacturing. Customers benefit from maximum productivity, automation readiness and the ability to process polymer materials which require operating temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius.
EOS remains on course for continued growth. Today, EOS has customers in 65 countries. It increased its turnover by 10% over the previous fiscal year 2015-16 to an expected 345 million Euros. Over this period, EOS delivered around 450 systems worldwide. As such the worldwide installed base of EOS systems rose to around 3,000, representing approximately 51% polymer and 49% metal technology. As such, EOS also sees continuous increase of metal applications, particularly for serial applications, which is also reflected in the 94 EOS M 4-series metal systems installed to date. The business success is also reflected in continued growth facilities worldwide. In summer 2017, EOS moved production, training and parts of warehouse, quality, training and laboratories into an additional 9,000 sqm facility in Maisach near Krailling, Germany to ensure a continuous expansion of its production and training capacities. On a global level, the offices in both France and Singapore also grew.
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