Ultimaker announced today what I believe could be a breakthrough sale to a major client.
The client is Netherlands-based ERIKS, which has been in operation for almost 80 years. You may not have heard of ERIKS, as they offer a number of specialized manufacturing and engineering products and services, ranging from gaskets to industrial hoses to power transmission to conveyor belts and much more.
One of their areas of specialization is polymers. They have been offering 3D printing rapid prototyping services for several years, and it seems they will be doing a lot more 3D printing as a result of this arrangement with Ultimaker.
ERIKS also provides consultative services to help design products and other engineering functions.
But to me the most important aspect of this deal is the size of ERIKS: they operate in 17 countries, have 7,500 employees and some 90,000 customers. They’re big, and widespread.
Ultimaker and ERIKS
The deal with Ultimaker announced today results in the manufacturer operating “multiple” Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundles. The “bundle” was announced last fall and is a combination of an S5 3D printer with a smart environmental control system and an intelligent dry box holding up to six different filament spools available on demand.
The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle is a very capable device that offers significant automation and simplification of workflows. It’s targeted at clients that require throughput, multiple materials and ease of use.
In other words, a client just like ERIKS.
Ultimaker S5 Bundle Applications
What is ERIKS doing with the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundles? ERIKS’ Managing Director, Sander Splinter, said:
“We see enormous potential in 3D printing for industrial purposes. By combining our industry, product and application knowledge with the accessible and reliable 3D printing solutions from Ultimaker, we can fully support our customers in co-engineering parts with more speed and design freedom when using injection moulding. In 2019, we managed to save over 350,000 euro only by implementing 3D printed production aids and eliminating safety hazards in our own facilities. We are now gradually helping our customers to benefit from 3D printing, by advising them based on data analysis on which parts are suitable to print, but also through site-scans at their facilities. Based on these visits we can co-engineer and print the identified applications on the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, guaranteeing quality, reproducibility and reliability of the parts according to their specific industry standards.”
Food-Safe 3D Printing With Ultimaker
It seems that one of the first applications ERIKS will deploy is a very interesting food-safe configuration, something I’ve not heard being done previously with Ultimaker equipment.
Head of Technology Sealing & Polymer Technology Job van de Sande said:
“For parts and tools used in environments in which food is produced, for instance, we developed the ERIKS’ Clean Manufacturing Facility. This space is EC1935/2004 compliant for its manufacturing, has dedicated clean production areas and a large-scale ISO Class 6 cleanroom. In addition to the European food safe compliances, we are currently working on earning the same food-safe FDA compliances and certifications for 3D printing as well. This would enable us to 3D print certified parts and tools that can be used in an atmosphere in which food is produced.”
I believe this is a very important application for Ultimaker, as it would demonstrate to future prospects that their equipment is indeed capable of being used for food-safe environments. It’s conceivable they could land a number of additional sales to other businesses also requiring food-safe capabilities.
The other interesting aspect is that ERIKS is such a diverse company with so many lines of business that it is quite probable they will deploy additional Ultimaker equipment for other applications, and most likely in multiple locations. This could generate a considerable amount of sales for Ultimaker both within and outside of ERIKS.