Can you brief us on the metal 3D printing market in India? What are the industry segments targeted by your company?
The USP of our company’s business model is its own R&D strength for developing machines, materials and software in the field of Additive Manufacturing. In metal 3D printing segment, we have a market share of 52% globally, and 80% in India. Our targeted industry segments include aerospace, automotive, medical, tooling and the oil & gas industry. In India, we have customers from government sectors like HAL, GTRE and DRDO in the aerospace industry. Besides, we have major customers, including Honeywell, GE, Wipro, Bajaj, TVS Motors and MRF.
Tell us about Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process. How is this technology implemented by your customers?
Technically, sintering, in engineering terms means a part or tool with porosity or holes. But, in DMLS, the right process that happens is laser melting. Here, a layer of metal powder is spread all over the platform and then the laser beam is fired into the bed of powdered metal to form the geometry of the part. Thus, it is an Additive Manufacturing technique of adding layer-by-layer until the final part is made.
Currently, the aerospace companies are the biggest users of DMLS, along with being a major growth driver for this technology. DMLS finds its application in making aero engine components, such as compressor, turbine, fuel nozzle and guideways, etc. In the automotive industry, this technology is used in the R&D stage for prototyping. In addition, it is used in the making of dental cosmetics by dential labs, and in the tool & die industry, it is used in the process of injection moulding and die casting, making inserts and cavities, etc.
What are the initiatives from EOS in taking 3D printing to the mass production environment?
Firstly, to take AM into the production environment, we have to ensure that we achieve 100% quality of the finished product. For this, we are not only supplying machines, but also supplying certified raw materials. Referring AM to a triangle with machine, material and software as three sides on it, we are working towards getting this model perfect to achieve part quality similar to casting/ forging/machining parts.
Secondly, the implementation of AM into the shop floor is always a challenge, especially in the aerospace industry. So, we have initiated Additive Minds, a consulting and knowledge transfer programme with expertise from EOS who work with customers to get the full potential of AM in their manufacturing supply chain.
Is there any development from the software side for 3D printing applications?
In the field of software development for AM, customers are looking for software that transfers data (e.g. referencing system) from a 3D printing machine to a conventional CNC machine. Companies are investing a lot in this direction. With this, it is possible to put the 3D printing machine in a shop floor to work along with CNC machines. As a result, the end product will have a particular part made from a 3D printer, while other parts from a milling machine.
Moving forward, what are your future plans for the Indian market?
Today, it is of utmost importance to help customers become successful. We, at EOS, are doing this by supporting them in implementing AM and providing consultation. Since our Additive Minds have come into the picture, we look forward to invest more on having consultants. This will help in translating the knowledge from our German team to Indian customers.