EOS is a leading AM solution provider based in Germany with more than 25 years experience in developing and selling AM systems, software, materials, process and Quality management tools. The company has more than 650 employees, with a turnover of more than 175 Million Euros last year. More than 90 percent of the OEMS in aerospace and medical have a qualified process chain using the EOS solutions.
EOS is known more for providing the complete end to end solution than being just a machinery manufacturer. In India EOS has been present from 1998 and it has shown a lot of commitment to India by its sustainable investment in the country. We were able to ask Head of EOS India, Mr. Anand Prakasam a few questions about the additive manufacturing (AM) industry in general within India. Below you will find his responses:
1. How significant is the Indian AM market to EOS from a global perspective?
Prakasam: India is an important market for EOS and this can be identified by the companies commitment to the country by having full fledged operations for more than a decade. Though the growth had been slow in the beginning, the last 2 years it has been contributing some interesting projects and case studies in tooling and aerospace to the global audience . From a revenue perspective we had grown 40% compared to last year and we expect to grow in a similar way in the coming 3 years.
2. Do you see the complex tooling solutions not possible by conventional manufacturing being realized by AM?
Prakasam: The advanced cooling technique which is only possible by AM method tooling can reduce cooling time from 20% to 70% , thus reducing production costs, reducing the number of molds made, improving quality and decreasing the scrap rate.
Since this advanced tooling technique has not be drilled into the curriculum it would take some time for this industry to adopt this on a mass scale. However we have seen some great success stories in India currently in this domain.
Prakasam: With AM the sky is the limit. The first point to acknowledge is that it is another manufacturing method. This means that companies need to select the right parts for this technology, redesign them for AM and then you can surely see the big benefit. Two industries which had undoubtedly gone by this process are aerospace and medical. Both these industries had identified the strength of this manufacturing process and had identified parts, and then designed and validated several components using this method. In aerospace you save a lot of weight, thus reducing the carbon emissions by an incredible amount while also reducing the lead time by more than 70% and eliminating tooling costs . The medical aspects of AM help to give a better quality of life, faster recovery times for patients, shorter operations, and a very high success rate by planning the surgery before operating. Markets like Oil and Gas and many more will open up to this technology in the coming years.
4. Do you feel AM clusters are the way forward for developing manufacturing economies? What are your thoughts on augmenting existing clusters?
Prakasam: Since the initial capital investment for a production level AM system is high (plus duties and taxes) this had been a barrier for many small and medium enterprises to invest. However, if one needs to develop world class components this is an important tool since it helps a company do many iterations in a short time frame with no tooling costs. Also once the design is approved it is possible to go into production with the shortest time with this manufacturing technology. Since the entry barrier is high, having a common facility would be one way to support many excellent small and medium companies to bring out world class products. If you look into Germany the industry is well supported by a huge number of medium size family run companies which provide world class products. In India this tier is almost missing . So in my opinion AM clusters with centres of excellence in different industry domains should be set up in different industrial areas as per the need of the region.
5. How significant is government policy on AM. How does it effect EOS?
Prakasam: I would like to answer this differently. I would like to ask myself how significant is government policy for the Indian industry? We lost mass manufacturing to china some years ago. India is an excellent base for engineering knowledge and we can take pride in saying that we have some excellent designs made by Indian engineers either in India or abroad. However, none of these designs get produced in India. If we can have a policy to encourage such R&D based special production to be done via this AM method we can create a niche in the manufacturing SPACE globally, just like how we created our space in software some years ago. It is clear from different reports that AM will become a serious manufacturing method in the coming years and so far many countries have set up policies to encourage and fund AM technology acquisition to make their industry ready for today and tomorrow. A good government policy and investment would be for the modernization of the government training and manufacturing set ups. This needs to be considered very seriously with AM, otherwise our Industry will lag behind even smaller nations. With a clear policy and commitment from the government we can make the ‘Made in India’ tagline a reality.