Industrial 3D printing technology for factories of the future

24th April 2017
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Industrial 3D printing technology for factories of the future

Exhibiting its new equipment at this year’s HANNOVER MESSE, EOS, a technology provider for industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers will be at the industrial trade fair this week from 24th-28th April. The company is presenting its Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions for industrial 3D printing in the ‘Digital Factory’ section of hall 6, stand K02, and will be displaying an overview of its technology and consulting service, showcasing the development potential along the whole production and process chain.

A live building system – the EOS P 396 – will demonstrate polymer-based Additive Manufacturing.

He continued: “In the context of Industry 4.0, industrial 3D printing is set to play a key role in developing the digitalised, intelligent factory of the future. At the same time, the technology gives companies greater flexibility and agility in adapting to ever changing market conditions.”

Introduction of industrial 3D printing: supporting the transformation process
With its ‘Additive Minds’ division, EOS assists customers in the transformation process necessary to successfully introduce Additive Manufacturing, as companies are under increasing pressure worldwide to introduce new, disruptive technologies more efficiently.

In many cases, it still takes too long to develop sufficient AM expertise in-house. However, via its consulting and training team, EOS can instruct these experts more quickly, minimising potential investment risks by imparting the required knowledge within a shorter timeframe.

A key success factor when launching this technology is, of course, the people involved, and therefore both the acquisition of relevant knowledge, and the ability of managers and engineers to adapt. In close collaboration with its customers, EOS has acquired the factors critical for success in more than 150 projects over the last few years.

Technological integration together with selected partners
In the factories of the future, however, apart from well-trained AM experts, the most important factor is the seamless integration of various technologies.

Among other parameters, the software-related optimisation of various process steps forms the basis for series manufacturing. In cooperation with Siemens PLM Software, EOS is developing CAD/CAM interfaces for the design and manufacturing aspects of industrial 3D printing, with the aim of providing a seamless integration in the Siemens NX software. The AM process, from part design to industrial 3D printing on EOS systems, therefore becomes closely interlinked in one software environment, enabling Additive Manufacturing to be deployed with greater speed and reliability.

Simultaneously, together with SAP, EOS is promoting the integration of industrial 3D printing in both MES and ERP systems, enabling building process data to be fed back into the SAP MES systems after Additive Manufacturing. Step by step, with complete transparency and control, this makes it possible to directly embed additive systems in existing manufacturing environments.

Moving forwards, two factory approaches are emerging for AM-supported series manufacturing: Additively dominated manufacturing centres and hybrid manufacturing environments.

Pure Additive Manufacturing and innovation centres
Pure additive manufacturing and innovation centres for series production already exist today, such as at AUDI. Within the scope of a development partnership, EOS is assisting the automotive manufacturer to establish a 3D printing centre in Ingolstadt, equipped with EOS systems and processes. At the same time, EOS is supporting the development of AUDI applications and in-house knowledge-building.

AUDI engineers are being further trained to become experts in Additive Manufacturing, enabling the carmaker to partially revolutionise the process of toolmaking, as complex part geometries and assemblies are easier to implement using this technology.

Hybrid manufacturing centres: Additive and conventional technologies
In the future, hybrid manufacturing centres will integrate both additive and conventional technologies in existing manufacturing environments. In close collaboration between EOS and GF Machining Solutions (GFMS) – and by combining the technologies of the two companies – customers will be able to access innovative solutions in the fields of tool and mould-making.

EOS will provide leading industrial 3D printers, while GF will contribute high-speed milling, EDM machinery, and automation technologies, creating a smart, interconnected production chain.

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