Eriks, a Dutch multinational that makes a wide range of mechanical engineering components for a number of different industries, has invested in several Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundles to expand its 3D printing production.
The S5s have been installed at Eriks’ production facilities in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, to help with both its OEM (original equipment manufacturing) and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) customers. The 3D printers allow Eriks to work jointly with customers and offer them full support in identifying, designing and printing applications. Eriks will also supply files so that customers can print the parts themselves, which was one of the reasons for choosing Ultimaker as the equipment is easy to use and widely available worldwide.
Sander Splinter, managing director at Eriks Netherlands, explains: “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 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.”
Ultimaker’s S5 is a desktop 3D printer that’s been designed to have the sort of reliability needed for industrial use. Its an FDM (Fused Deposition Method) machine that uses extrudes filaments that takes any 2.85mm material including high-strength glass and carbon fibre filament. It has a large build area of 330 x 240 x 300 mm, with layer resolution down to 20 microns. The S5 bundle includes an S5 3D printer with a Material Station to hold and dispense up to six different materials from a single point, as well as an Air Manager, which fits on top of the printer and can catch up to 95 percent of ultrafine particles for a safer environment.
Eriks has added a Clean Manufacturing Facility that complies with EC1935/2004 manufacturing standards to produce food-safe parts. Job van de Sande, head of Technology Sealing & Polymer Technology at Eriks, says that this also includes dedicated clean production areas and a large-scale ISO Class 6 cleanroom, adding: “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.”
The company was founded in 1940 by Arie Eriks, initially supplying gaskets, seals, V-belts and hoses to the dairy industry. The company expanded steadily, first within the Netherlands, then opening factories in Belgium and France and later by acquiring other companies to enter new markets and geographic areas. In 2009 Eriks was taken over by the family-owned multi-national SHV Holdings and has since concentrated on consolidating its own business. Today it operates out of 340 facilities spread across 17 countries, and employs some 7,500 staff, serving 90,000 customers.