Dave Ramahi, Urs Berger- Optomec, Harald Moder- Merconics, Lars Sommerhäuser & Pierangelo Gröning, Empa- at the Coating Competency Center at Empa in Switzerland [Image: Optomec]

New Mexico-based company Optomec has been around since 1997, and has gotten a lot accomplished in those 21 years. The company is known for two major 3D printing technologies. Aerosol Jet 3D printing enables the printing of electronics, using aerodynamic focusing to precisely and accurately deposit electronic inks onto substrates. The ink is placed into an atomizer, which creates a dense mist of material laden droplets; that mist is then delivered to the deposition head where it is focused by a sheath gas, which surrounds the aerosol as an annular ring. When the sheath gas and aerosol pass through the nozzle, they accelerate and the aerosol becomes focused into a tight stream, which is then aimed at the substrate.

Optomec’s other technology, LENS, is a metal 3D printing method, using a high-powered laser to fuse metal powder into dense 3D structures. The process takes place in a hermetically sealed chamber which is purged with argon so that the oxygen and moisture levels stay below 10 parts per million, keeping the part clean and preventing oxidation. The powder is delivered to the deposition head by a proprietary powder feed system which can precisely regulate mass flow.

Just recently, Optomec introduced a new technology – a hybrid system that combines LENS technology with CNC milling. The company is consistently developing new innovations, and is always expanding – Optomec has now announced that it is opening Optomec GmbH, a  new Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Operations Center located in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Optomec GmbH will be located at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Empa is an institution of the ETH domain and is affiliated with the ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology).

Empa has been responsible for some big 3D printing innovations itself, especially in the materials department. It’s also the location of the DFAB House, a project involving multiple digital construction technologies including 3D printing.

“Recognized for its leading-edge research in materials science and interdisciplinary technology, Empa is an ideal setting for Optomec to establish its EMEA Operations Center,” said Mike Kardos, VP World Wide Sales at Optomec. “Our office and demo center will be staffed with engineers and service technicians as well as the latest equipment to better support our partners and grow our customer base in the region. Also, our partnership with Empa enables Optomec to leverage their extensive network of European partnerships and collaborate on research activities that are well aligned with Optomec’s technology roadmap.”

Empa employs about 1,000 people and is dedicated to research and development in the field of sustainable materials science and technology.

“The new EMEA office demonstrates Optomec’s commitment to growing our presence and serving our clients in this region,” said Urs Berger, Optomec Director of Sales for EMEA. “I’m pleased to play an integral role in this expansion and look forward to the exciting development opportunities this presents for our clients and our industry.”

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