EOS, the global technology and quality leader for high-end Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions, is presenting its new Additive Manufacturing (AM) Consulting Services at this year’s EuroMold. Güngör Kara, Head of Global Application at EOS, explains why this service is so important: “Following intensive analysis of the current market conditions, EOS has identified a central dilemma which leads to many customers still not fully exploiting the full potential of Additive Manufacturing in their value creation chains.. From now on and within the context of Additive Manufacturing (AM) Consulting Services, EOS supports customers with an experienced team of application specialists to identify and tap these potentials even earlier, faster and better, thus achieving a clear competitive advantage.”
Deriving real added value for companies and their customers from the AM hype
The hype surrounding the topic of industrial 3D printing triggered an unparalleled run on this new manufacturing technology over the past few years. It is clear that a company can achieve significant competitive advantages based on this technology. Nevertheless, many top managers of multinational companies still find it difficult to derive concrete profitable application fields for their own business which will result in perceptible added value for their company and subsequently for their own customers from the sheer unlimited possibilities available.
From an EOS point of view, many companies currently only evaluate the AM technology based on their own requirements. What is decisive, however, is to evaluate Additive Manufacturing from the view of the companies’ customers, to think ahead about their requirements and challenges and to express these clearly. Only then will all those involved be able to grasp the value contribution of this new technology. If a company ultimately decides to use Additive Manufacturing, this requires the clear support of the top management, because AM requires certain investments in technology, of course, a specific knowledge base, a new way of approaching design and manufacturing and also often entails new business models which can only be implemented with the support of a company’s management board.
Steps to success: adapting the value creation to AM and reverse thinking
If a company decides in favour of the AM technology, it still often takes a conventional approach in the early stages, thus wasting valuable potentials: during the design phase components are designed in the usual way rather than being optimised for the AM process. This may enable initial progress to be made and cost savings to be identified in the ideal case. However, it does not exhaust the possibilities presented by Additive Manufacturing by a long way, and the results fall short of the mark. If conventionally designed components are manufactured layer by layer using Additive Manufacturing, the positive effects in terms of costs and time spent on production and assembly cannot be significantly increased, component performance cannot be improved and cost transparency cannot be heightened. As a result, the added value of AM technology cannot be fully developed.
If this is to be changed, the first step is to define the central value driver for performance, costs and turnover expectations following the introduction of AM technology from EOS. In a second step, costs saved by Additive Manufacturing and the requirements on the life cycle of the additive manufactured components should be derived on the basis of the previously defined value drivers. And then – and not before – the part production should be implemented on the basis of production requirements and central value drivers. Further effects in terms of costs, efficiency etc. can be achieved in the subsequent iteration loops.
Conclusion: Customers require different degrees of support depending on which decision or implementation phase they are in with relation to AM technology. EOS now offers a modular consulting portfolio aligned to central customer requirements which will be extended continually in an ongoing process. If a company is taking an interest in EOS technology for the first time, it initially needs consultative trainings with regard to the building process workflow, best practice examples for optimum component design and statements about strategic future scenarios for the use of AM. If the customer is already a step further in the decision-making process, EOS can provide development consulting. This includes parameter-related trainings, component assessments to derive further optimisation potentials and project management support where necessary. If a system has already been purchased but is not being used to optimum capacity, EOS can support a company within the context of installation consulting with AM process optimisation as well as cost-effectiveness analyses and the implementation of qualification processes.
If a company has finally decided to introduce the technology on a grand scale, EOS can provide support in future with optimising the supply chains and conceiving joint development projects for materials, process and products.