As EOS focuses on market-driven offerings in additive manufacturing, EOS North America President Glynn Fletcher and I turned our conversation toward the company’s growing portfolio.
This is part two of our interview; read part one here.
EOS introduced a new polymer-based system earlier this year, along with a new industrial material.
“Everything we have brought to market recently, and everything we plan to bring to market in the very near future, focuses on the production side of additive manufacturing rather than on the rapid prototyping side of additive manufacturing,” he said of the introduction.
As we spoke, he hinted at an interesting upcoming announcement: EOS will be one to watch at the upcoming IMTS.
Fletcher didn’t want to give too much away, but already I’m intrigued about the new system, which will be on the metal side of the portfolio and is designed to complement traditional equipment “to fit into a factory environment in a way that is familiar to those people who have traditionally used subtractive manufacturing.”
The new system represents a move forward for EOS in answering the call of the market, responding directly to what their customers need and want in their production space. Gathering insights from users has been key to EOS’ strategy moving further into production, and Fletcher and the team see IMTS as an ideal launch pad for additive manufacturing to step more solidly into manufacturing.
We wrapped up our chat with a look at another overall key piece to EOS’ market approach: collaboration.
With the upcoming launch at IMTS, Fletcher noted that by rough estimates, metal additive manufacturing makes up about 1% of the broader machine tool industry.
“I haven’t heard anyone who hasn’t agreed when I say that additive manufacturing should be able to disrupt traditional manufacturing by at least 20%. If we’re at 1% today, that gives us growth potential of at least 20x, which is very exciting,” Fletcher told me.
“If we’re going to do that, we have to fit into the mainstream production equipment market. We have to produce equipment that works reliably, produces high-quality parts consistently, and is supported by an infrastructure that can step in and fix things when things go a little awry, when there are problems. We focus on that through our Additive Minds program. We do all we can to reassure those customers who want to use additive manufacturing in production that not only is the equipment capable but the support behind it can ensure it works in the environment they’re used to, working with machine tools.”
To achieve that 20x growth, to reach those accustomed to traditional manufacturing, Fletcher says that he is “a little strange in terms of my outlook on the competitive landscape.”
Yes, he admitted, EOS is competing and has competitors in additive manufacturing — “the list is long and increasing every day” — and he loves that. That level of competition he says, is “a sign of a vibrant potential market.”
“The more people that are interested in participating in this market, the more chance we have of being successful. Show me a market that has no competition and I will show you a market that is not a market,” he said. “We have to have healthy, vibrant competitors, and we need all of our competitors to be successful as well. As we go through this emergent phase, the more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned. The true competition is not amongst ourselves as I see it.”
The competition present at IMTS will be EOS and its AM competitors together facing the approximately 1,800 traditional companies exhibiting at the show.
Shaping its place within the market requires careful examination of the competitive landscape, and EOS is acutely aware of what it takes to compete. Knowing who is the competitor and who is on your team can be a substantial advantage.
The company, he said, is also very focused on its own team — particularly its growth and makeup.
Fletcher also pointed toward additive manufacturing as an equal opportunity industry, an aspect that “EOS is very committed to” as it continues to grow. The company sees that “the women in our organization are really making a huge impact” with a focused Lean In committee and women-driven ideas that are leading to “some of the most progressive movements within the organization.” Including more diversity of voices in the conversation is leading to tangible growth steps as new ideas are frequently brought to the table.
With these strategic focuses and upcoming market-focused launch, EOS is looking squarely to a future in production — taking additive manufacturing from ‘wow’ to ‘now’.