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Industrial 3D Printing as an Innovation Driver for Medium-Sized Businesses

| Author / Editor: Juliana Pfeiffer / Janina Seit

Wehl & Partner has expanded its capacities for additive manufacturing (AM) by investing in four new laser system EOS M 400-4, thus strengthening its long-standing cooperation with EOS.

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Industrial 3D printing as an innovation driver for medium-sized businesses
( Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

The EOS M 400-4 is designed to process metal with a high productivity. It offers excellent component quality and an especially large installation space. Wehl & Partner plans to use the system to manufacture products primarily for customers in the automotive and aerospace industry.

Robert Wehl, Managing Director of Wehl & Partner: "As an expert in rapid prototyping, we accompany companies on the way to product and series production readiness: from the original model to fully functional prototypes and small series production. As a technology, additive manufacturing offers us significant advantages. The combination of speed and component quality, which is unique in the marketplace, was decisive for our purchase decision in favor of the EOS M 400-4". Investments in innovative technologies such as EOS provide us, as a medium-sized company, with a solution that will ensure our long-term success.”

The managing directors of Wehl & Partner GmbH — Robert Wehl, Bernardo Wehl and Alexander Wehl — and Wolfram Voelker, Area Sales Manager at EOS (from left to right) in front of the EOS M 400-4 system.
The managing directors of Wehl & Partner GmbH — Robert Wehl, Bernardo Wehl and Alexander Wehl — and Wolfram Voelker, Area Sales Manager at EOS (from left to right) in front of the EOS M 400-4 system.
( Source: Wehl & Partner )

Technology of the Future Ensures Competitiveness

The current global production environment is characterized by ever shorter product lifecycles with a steadily increasing variety of products. At the same time, industrial production is undergoing a fundamental change due to the IIoT development. In addition to extending cooperation models along the entire processing chain, production is constantly being digitalized.

Fast-moving markets require short-term production, on-demand and the flexible development of new products for local markets — these requirements can be met with additive production processes. In order to remain competitive, the industry has to make use of the opportunities offered by AM and existing manufacturing processes, if they want to explore the full potential of 3D printing. Especially OEMs are increasingly relying on the advantages of this technology and expect the same from their medium-sized suppliers," says Dietmar Frank, Regional Director Central Europe at EOS.

3D Printing Enables Customized Production

Against this backdrop, the possibilities of industrial 3D printing have an important impact on the competitiveness of companies — regardless of their size. This technology allows for the customization of products down to batch size 1 as well as for a completely new degree of freedom in design and production. 3D printing enables the design of highly complex structures that would not be feasible with conventional manufacturing processes.

As a result, manufacturing companies have to exploit the possibilities of this technology if they want to remain market leaders in the future. The South German medium-sized company Wehl & Partner has also played a pioneering role in this area: for 15 years, the company has been relying on the advantages of additive manufacturing and EOS solutions. The company already uses five systems for the processing of polymer materials and one EOS M 290 system for the additive manufacturing of metal parts. The purchase of the EOS M 400-4 allows Wehl & Partner to intensify the use of additive manufacturing and invest in the success of its customers and the company itself.

By using industrial 3D printing, Wehl & Partner as a medium-sized company is able to produce components directly by means of additive manufacturing in a very short period of time — for instance complex geometries, lightweight components with biometric structures or assemblies with functional integration can be produced. Tool inserts with near-contour cooling are no problem for additive production. Thanks to the optimized heat dissipation in tooling applications, cycle times are reduced, productivity is increased, and the quality of the parts produced by injection molding and die casting is improved.

This article was first published by konstruktionspraxis.

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