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Lifestyle Products  – Turn any conceivable shape into a real product with additive manufacturing

EOS Additive Manufacturing opens up a whole new universe of production possibilities for designers and design engineers.

Additive Manufacturing is not subject to design restrictions and breaks down the boundaries imposed by conventional manufacturing methods. The latter tend to be geared towards high quantities: design changes cannot be implemented at short notice and individualized serial production involves considerable effort. This puts pressure on companies in areas such as jewellery and watches, footwear and web applications: they struggle with increasing raw material prices, rising demand for individualized products and a need for more flexible and decentralized serial production.

Additive Manufacturing provides new solutions to meet these very challenges. It opens up a whole new universe of possibilities for designers and design engineers. Users can turn virtually any conceivable shape into a real product – economically, flexibly, quickly and involving minimum use of material. By means of Additive Manufacturing, objects are built up layer by layer in a single process. Material is applied selectively as required, enabling products to be manufactured which are both stable and very light.

Additive Manufacturing is based on an entirely digital process, ensuring consistent high quality, optimum scalability and short lead times. Production is economical from a batch size of one. Some lifestyle companies have already set up special departments in which product designers systematically sound out the possibilities of the new technology. They use Additive Manufacturing to produce furnishing items such as lamps and chairs as well as fashion articles such as jewellery, handbags and glasses featuring unusual shapes and structures. In view of the benefits it offers, EOS Additive Manufacturing will become established on an equal footing with conventional production techniques in the years to come. This will lead to novel applications in the future: products such as footwear and watches will be configured online and then printed out in the store, for example.

Customer Statement: Hettich

Dieter Sorg, Head of CAM at Hettich talks about the use of additive manufactruing technology by EOS at Hettich, the benefits of the collaboration with EOS and the challenges that implementing the technology brings with.

EOS Additive Manufacturing technology – Lifestyle best-practice examples

 

Lifestyle Products: Hoet – Additive Manufacturing of eyeglass frames out of titanium

New perspectives created by eyewear specialists Hoet – made possible with the support of Raytech and EOS

 

‘The eye is the point at which the soul and body merge.’ It is not clear whether the designers from Hoet oriented themselves on this quote bydramatist and lyricist Christian Friedrich Hebbel. But looking at the classic and inimitable design of the new collection, one could easily think so. This eye-catching range was made possible by Additive Manufacturing technology. EOS partner Raytech from Belgium was responsible for the technical realization of the design.

Challenge

Consumer product manufacturers are just as beholden to innovation as companies in other industries– the competition for the customer is hard, and woe be to those who lack ideas or the right formula. Besides pure functionality, what counts, particularly in the consumer environment, are aesthetic arguments with sales appeal. The customer offers money in his hand for something that is pleasing to his eye. Hoet, a company that specializes in the development and production of eyewear, was searching for an innovative response to this challenge.

The Belgian family-run company which was founded in 1884 had set the bar particularly high with its Cabrio eyewear. This innovative design, which combines sunglasses and a cap visor to provide dual protection from solar rays, was designed by Bieke Hoet. The designer, who heads the company, invented a proprietary laminated polypropylene material for the production of the eyewear house’s frames. This approach to experimentation shows openness to the adoption of new perspectives and enabled the company to see the logic in expanding its production repertoire and choice of materials.

Not only did it have the courage to seek new paths, but it was also convinced that environmental sustainability was a key component of any new approach. From the beginning, the company also had its sights set firmly on costs. Armed with this triad of clear-cut prerequisites – the search for fresh design possibilities, acceptable costs levels and sustainable production – Hoet began searching for a new production process for its latest product line. The eyewear specialist soon turned their attention to Additive Manufacturing.

Solution

Industrial 3D printing offers outstanding and unrivalled design freedom. Not only can this advantage be applied to the manufacturing of prototypes, but it also offers immense added value in series production – particularly with products whose design and aesthetics play a significant role in the customers’ purchase decision. ‘Anything goes’ could be the tag line for Additive Manufacturing. That Hoet, a design-driven company, was attracted to the technology is no surprise. With an eye on the exceptional freedom it affords in the realization ideas, Bieke Hoet set to work on creating designs for the collection.

Once the creative work had been completed, the company chose apply existing expertise to ensure its efficient production. The search for an experienced partner eventually led to Raytech, a company based close to Hoet’s premises in Bruges. Raytech had many years of experience and displayed the required level of expertise in Additive Manufacturing. For example, the company is a supplier to the electronic and automotive industries. The metal-based version of the technology, in which a laser builds up a component layer by layer from a powder, is of huge significance to clients in these sectors.

Together, Hoet and Raytech developed a production concept. This included the use of EOS Titanium Ti64 as the core material. Titanium is often used for eyewear frames, because it combines extreme flexibility with high strength and low weight. The metal is also one of the numerous raw materials that can be processed with EOS technology. So the design, material and process were now in place. All that was missing was the means of production. Raytech decided once again to utilize its in-house EOS system: “What convinced us about EOS was the company’s excellent service and, in particular, its quick and competent application advice. Its hands-on attitude, fast response and leading technology, combined with an excellent production system, maked for a coherent overall package,” says Paul Raymaekers, owner and managing director of Raytech.

Results

The results achieved by the triumvirate of Hoet, Raytech, and EOS will not only look great, but they will be there for all to see. The various complex and delicate lattice structures of the frames would not have been possible with conventional technology. The realization of the inimitable classic design was only made possible with the EOS M 290. Yet despite achieving the appearance it had been looking for, Hoet still had some other demands on its list – and these too were met by Additive Manufacturing. Because there are no further tooling costs, one and the same machine can produce variety of sizes, quickly and easily, and with no additional costs. Together with the appropriate software and scanning equipment, it can even manufacture custom-made frames for each respective model.

Bieke Hoet also stresses a further point: normally, between 30-40 % of the eyewear produced remains unsold in the drawers of the wholesaler or retailer. Under these conditions exact production planning is very difficult. But with Additive Manufacturing, it is possible to manufacture on demand, eliminating the need to build up stocks. This not only reduces storage costs but also lowers the average production costs of the products sold. A further advantage of the technology is the short time to market, i.e. the time between the product’s design and its availability in retail outlets. Just two months after the installation of the system, the frames were ready to go on sale. And, if required, the manufacturing of additional stock only requires a few days.

“Additive Manufacturing has proven its worth across many areas of application. It is in generally its functional aspects that are the central. For us, however, it was the design possibilities offered by the technology that were key to our decision,” summarizes Hoet. “We wanted to give the market something that was genuinely new. By using Additive Manufacturing, we have once again followed the credo of the Cabrio range: the use of new materials and technologies adds further benefits and advanced aesthetics to the field of eyewear design.” To end with a quote from Mark Twain, one of the greats of world literature: ‘You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.’ In her company, Bieke Hoet brings a clarity of vision that helps customers realize new aesthetic perspectives and 20/20 vision.

“We had three reasons for choosing on Additive Manufacturing for our new eyewear frames: We were able to create things in a way that would not have been possible with standard technologies. We could manufacture various sizes without incurring additional costs. And it is a green technology that, thanks to its flexibility, clearly reduces consumption of both energy and materials.”

“In our opinion, EOS is the best partner that we could work with in the Additive Manufacturing sector. We were particularly impressed that we had immediate access to contacts with a high level of competence in the optical sector and with regard to the titanium material that we use. This basic knowledge, coupled with the quickly produced, high value test samples, convinced us that we had made the right choice of partner.

Short profile

Raytech is a Belgian company which has been specializing in metal processing since 1988. Originally seen as a pioneer in the field of high precision laser cutting and welding, the firm has developed into a driver of innovation in Additive Manufacturing and co-engineering.

Since 1884, the name Hoet and the company behind it have been synonymous with contemporary design. In addition to eyewear, accessories also make up a significant part of the optical specialists’ product portfolio.

Lifestyle Products: LUUV – Innovative Camera Mount Produced by Additive Manufacturing

Start-up Company LUUV is Always in the Picture Thanks to EOS Technology

The attraction of outdoor sports is all about thrills, dynamics and speed. Whether you prefer downhill mountain-biking or snowbo

arding, the important thing is that there is plenty of high energy at high speed. But if you have ever tried filming the kinds of stunts and jumps that sports like these involve using a smartphone or action cam, you will quickly realize that the equipment just isn’t up to the job. This is something that Felix Kochbeck, CEO and developer at LUUV also realized: when it came to snowboarding in Zillertal/Austria, as an active sports enthusiasts he consistently failed to record his impressions on film smoothly and without jitters. Seeking a solution to the problem, he designed an ingenious, self-stabilizing mount, founded a company, and produced his first prototypes using EOS technology.

Challenge

It is usually a long and rocky road from an initial idea to a finished product. If after creating your start-up you take a step back and view your project within the big picture, you may easily be bitten by doubt, and wonder if you have made the right decision. Usually the problem is a combination of technical problems and, above all, a lack of money. And it is always a race – not only against time but also against the (potential) competition. When Felix Kochbeck first began developing his groundbreaking camera mount, he was aware of these challenges right from the start. Yet he never wavered from his goal – to design a hand-held mount that could be used to effectively prevent jittery film images.

On the face of it, the principle seems simple enough: the camera or smartphone is attached to the top end of a camera stabilizer mount, which bears a passing resemblance to an hourglass. A handle is attached to the neck section, which functions as the grip for the cameraman. The drop-shaped undersection conceals sophisticated precision mechanics, and it is this that gives the camera its stability, for instance by allowing it to compensate for the cameraman’s movements or motion caused by gusts of wind. Also, action film directors don’t lose their balance even when filming things at high speed. The principle is loosely related to that of the self-balancing two-wheel scooter, which is able to maintain the rider’s equilibrium on a single axis. A further advantage of the construction is that it can be rotated only a few centimetres above the ground.

It wasn’t just the precision mechanics that posed a challenge to the young businessman and his team. Even if the housing would appear to be a relatively simple construction, it presented several design problems to Kochbeck right from the start: “What we wanted from the beginning was to work quickly and keep our sights set on our goal, to ensure that we would be able to get our product on the market as fast as possible. Moreover, as a start-up, it was very important for us to maintain strict cost-awareness.” In the past, the construction of individual prototypes was a costly and time-consuming business. What the young LUUV crew needed was a viable alternative production technique. And they needed it quickly.

Solution

The housing had to satisfy all functional requirements, such as ergonomic design and mechanical resilience. And to be accepted for trendy outdoor use, it also had to have an attractive appearance. Requirements such as these are crying out for a production technique that is in itself highly innovative – Additive Manufacturing. This allows components to be made on the basis of 3D digital construction data by building up a body in successive layers of extremely fine plastic powder and fusing them by the application of a laser beam. One of the main features of this technology is its suitability for the production of prototypes with particularly stringent requirements in terms of functionality, time-to-market, and cost.

This is something that company founder Kochbeck realized very quickly: “We were aware that due to the special requirements of our product, the only solution for us was to employ an Additive Manufacturing process.” For this reason, the decision was taken to purchase a 3D printer in addition to placing other smaller orders for tools and materials; indeed these were the chief investment of the Berlin start-up. The device functions on the principle of Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). Kochbeck continues: “The process was very suitable for producing our first functional models. However, in the course of our development, we quickly reached the point at which we needed an industrially produced small series.”

Because FDM printers are unable to produce the level of quality required for professional use, the LUUV founders quickly discovered their way to EOS, the technological leaders when it comes to Additive Manufacturing. The central aspects behind this decision were that that the product’s aesthetics and mechanical properties had to be at a professional level of quality. Moreover, the EOS solution offered them additional advantages such as just-in-time production and ease of component modification. This fast design change allows the LUUV team to continually incorporate customer feedback in their product. To sum up, the production process had now been established, so all that remained was to build up the 3D model – already completed using CAD software – layer by layer using laser technology.

Results

This production method offers the start-up great advantages, as Kochbeck confirms: “We have no set-up costs, for instance for injection moulds. We can employ component geometries that would not be possible using other manufacturing techniques. And we can make changes to parts during the ongoing production or prototyping process.” For instance, the team were able to considerably reduce the size of the mount, thanks to their ability to perform intensive testing with the various prototypes. The tenth prototype generation is currently in test operation, something which would be barely imaginable using traditional production methods.

EOS machines were employed to produce a small prototype series. Or to be more precise, the ‘jacket’ of the LUUV stabilizer mount originates from an EOS system, while the precision mechanics are concealed in the interior. Kochbeck is already planning to use Additive Manufacturing for LUUV’s serial production. A crowd-funding campaign is currently ongoing. The technology has taken hold of the young company.

In future, sports enthusiasts around the world will be able to use their action cams and smartphones for filming in a far greater range of situations. Professional looking films taken by hand – a real innovation. Spectacular snowboarding jumps can now be captured with the image quality that they deserve. And EOS technology is playing its role by employing its unique properties and capabilities in turning visions into reality.

“I got the idea for my camera stabilizer mount while on a snowboarding holiday in Zillertal/Austria nearly two years ago. I am a fun sports

enthusiast and up to that point I had never found an easy way of capturing my impressions on camera. But the LUUV mount will change all of this. Additive Manufacturing was clearly the ideal technique for cheaply and quickly producing prototypes and small product series. Quality, mechanical properties, customizability and cost – all of these factors make it a great technology, particularly for start-ups.” Felix Kochbeck, CEO and founder of LUUV Forward GmbH

Short profile

LUUV Forward GmbH is a young start-up company based in Berlin. The company designs solutions for jitter-free filming – including high-speed action shots.

Lifestyle-Products: New Balance – Improved runner performance with EOS industrial 3D-Printing Technology

Improved Runner Performance: New Balance Uses EOS Industrial 3D-Printing Technology to Individualise Spike Plates

New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., best known simply as New Balance, has turned to design-driven manufacturing for 3D printing custom spike plates for their elite athletes, all based on an individual runner’s biomechanics and personal inputs. Using a proprietary process to collect race simulation data from Team New Balance runners, the Sports Research Lab then applies advanced algorithms to translate this information into an optimised design that can be manufactured additively by use of EOS technology.

 

Challenge

No two runners are the same. This is especially true for athletes competing at the most elite levels. Their foot-strike patterns (the amount a runner’s foot rolls inward with each step) and braking and propulsion forces are all unique. However, the extent to which most running shoe models vary is rather limited by comparison. As a result, there are some who believe that personalising a runner’s shoes, specifically the spike plate that provides traction on the underside of the shoe, can help these athletes become faster on the track. A proponent of this trend is New Balance.

Track shoe spike plates have three general characteristics that can vary depending on the length of the race the athlete is competing in and their preferences: the fit, stiffness, and design of the plate all of which impact the comfort and performance of the runner. Typically, each spike plate style requires several injection moulds for various sizes, all costing thousands of dollars. These moulds will run thousands of plates before being retired or replaced, often annually, by a new mould indicating a new model.

Solution

New Balance was searching for an optimised process – and found it in EOS technology. Long before the spike plates are additively manufactured, or even designed, New Balance’s Sports Research Lab collects each runner’s biomechanical data using a force plate, in-shoe sensors, and a motion-capture system worn by the runner. This motion-capture system helps determine the relationship of the foot to the force plate, creating a three-dimensional vector map of the impact of each stride. The in-shoe sensors show distinct pressure indicator over the length of the runner’s foot strike as well as how the runner’s foot interacts with the shoe. When a particular part of the foot exhibits high-pressure values, it generally indicates that the associated 3D vector is important to that area of the shoe at that specific moment in time.

“We establish a relationship between these high pressures and the corresponding forces to help us create a map of forces relevant to each area of the foot,” says Sean Murphy, senior manager of innovation and engineering at New Balance. “A simple example is in the toe area. Generally, when you see high pressure there, it corresponds to a force that is pushing toward the heel to create forward propulsion. We use parametric modeling software to process this data and distribute the position of the spike plate traction elements, calculate the orientation and adjust the size of the elements, and incorporate specific runner preferences into the design.”

The designer is then responsible for performing the CAD cleanup necessary to create the final product, including touching up model surfaces and making adjustments to accommodate the full-size range of the spike plate. Once the final geometry has been verified, the CAD files are converted to .stl files and uploaded to the EOSINT P 395 system for Additive Manufacturing.

New Balance worked with high-performance materials manufacturer Advanced Laser Materials (ALM), part of the EOS family, to develop a proprietary nylon blend. The spike plates are built layer-by-layer in the EOS system using the custom-blend nylon powder coupled with tailored laser conditions to yield maximum engineering properties. “We decided to collaborate with ALM on this project because they had experience developing the type of material we were looking for,” says Murphy.  “We had worked with them on a previous prototyping project and the variety of materials as well as knowledge that they offered made them the perfect partner.”

Results

“By additively manufacturing our customised spike plates we can manufacture on demand, fluidly adjust our process to accommodate different sizes and widths, and update designs without the continuing capital investment required by injection moulding,” says Katherine Petrecca, business manager of New Balance Studio Innovation. “The incorporation of the additively manufactured spike plate also allows us to realise a 5% weight reduction compared to traditionally manufactured versions.”

Kim Conley, a member of Team New Balance and U.S. Olympic runner, thinks it makes a difference in her performance. She has run personal records in both the 3000m and 5000m wearing her additively manufactured spike plates. She also wore them at the 2013 World Championships, where she had her best international performance to date. After simulation testing in 2012, Conley first wore her customised spike plates for competition in 2013 during a race at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California (USA), and has continued to wear them, especially at such important races as the World Championships. “My shoes are critical to my performance. They’re the most important piece of equipment I have,” says Conley. “As a professional runner, you obviously want the most effective and comfortable spike plates for competition. For me, these are the ones New Balance designed based on the curve running data their development team collected. They provide better traction and less pressure on the outside of my foot, which allows me to focus on my race plan and not worry about my spike plates.”

“This is a totally unique situation where we come away with the runner’s data, generate multiple plates we feel will meet their needs, and actually provide several pairs of track spikes for them to try simultaneously. It’s great to be able to have them identify and respond to each variation that we produce,” says Murphy. But what does all this mean for the amateur or recreational runner? While runner-specific spike plates are currently only available for Team New Balance athletes, this will eventually change. And runners won’t be the only ones having all the fun. There is definitely the opportunity to expand the customisation practices developed on the spike-plate project to other sports.

“Design-driven Additive Manufacturing really holds the promise of more on-demand production and more individually customised design. These spike plates are the first step

we’ve taken with our athletes to prove that. As the material options expand; as our own proficiency with EOS technology expands; as capacities for Additive Manufacturing grow, we believe we will be able to bring 3D-printed products, in some format, to the everyday consum

Katherine Petrecca, Business Manager of New Balance Studio Innovation

Short Profile

Founded in 1908 and based in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts (USA), New Balance has global sales over $2 billion. Their more than 4,000 associates embrace innovation across all platforms of the business and are constantly exploring advanced methods of product design and manufacturing.

Further information

Rapid Prototyping with additive manufacturing solutions by EOS

Additive manufacturing is ideally suited for Rapid Prototyping. Thanks to the highest possible degree of design freedom, even complex shapes such as bionic structures can be manufactured. It is possible to manufacture physical presentation and functional prototypes quickly and cost-efficiently without the need for manual processing – directly using three-dimensional CAD construction data. This makes the entire product development process considerably faster.

Flexible construction and material variants

EOS systems build up prototypes as well as end products layer-by-layer. Different metal and plastic powder materials are available. Products made of different materials belonging to one material family (metal or plastic) can be processed on one machine. This is especially interesting for prototype manufacturing.

Companies in many sectors of industry are now making successful use of laser sintering processes in their development and manufacturing processes.

EOS Quality: Result of extensive experience and the highest manufacturing standards

EOS continuously monitors the quality of all components at every process step in the value-added chain and holds the relevant product certifications and validations

The aim of EOS quality policy is to identify current customer needs and future market demands early on and meet these by means of the appropriate organisational, technological and economic resources. This is the only way to ensure the success and competitiveness of the company in the long term.

The cornerstones of our quality policy are:

EOS has defined quality principles which we implement throughout the entire company:

  • Our quality benchmark is the satisfaction of our customers
  • We strive to achieve an outstanding level of quality in all products and services
  • Secure organisational and technological processes allow us to maintain our high quality standards both reliably and economically
  • Every employee endeavours to produce work of impeccable quality and avoid errors
  • Every employee contributes to achieving our company goals and improving quality through responsible, quality-conscious action
  • We promote awareness of quality in every employee by providing training programs and information events

The key factor in implementing our quality policy is management acting as a role model of our principles. For this reason, the managing directors and every manager in the company are committed to align their day-to-day actions with the defined quality policy.

Quality Management

EOS quality management is focused on development and continuous improvement using the best methods available, both in terms of organisation as well as processes, systems and product. This is done in partnership with all colleagues and departments. In this way we are able to meet customer demands, our company goals and legal requirements in an efficient manner.

EOS documents its high standards by means of important certifications of its quality management system.

  • EOS GmbH: certified according to ISO 9001 since 1998 for development, manufacturing, sales and service of systems and solutions for Additive Manufacturing using laser sintering technology
  • EOS Finland Oy: Certified according to ISO 9001 for design, manufacture and sales of metal materials and processes for EOSINT M systems. Also certified according to ISO 13485 and Directive 93/42/EEC for medical applications with Cobalt Chrome SP2 registered as class II medical product in EU for dental applications.
  • KVS GmbH: certified according to ISO 9001 for the development, production, testing and sales of polyamide powders and mixtures

EOS updates the QM processes according to standards in the medical and aerospace industries and according to GMP. EOS continuously monitors the quality of all components at every process step in the value-added chain. EOS also holds the relevant product certifications and validations (IQ, OQ, PQ) for all components of the Additive Manufacturing process. This includes processes and finished parts on the customer side as well as regulatory certificates and registrations in global markets.