EOS Opens New Location in Texas
Located near Austin, the facility is to be the first of several additions to the company's presence in North America, its fastest-growing market.
EOS is witnessing a shift in the market for additive manufacturing. The company, which manufactures direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and selective laser sintering (SLS) equipment as well as materials, has seen North America surpass Central Europe in sales revenue growth over the past few years. The company has now found itself at a tipping point, where it is no longer practical to serve all of its clients and installed machines by flying personnel across the continent and shipping parts and materials long distances.
"The resources that are necessary to support our customers should be distributed throughout the United States, in the places that are closest to our customers," says Glynn Fletcher, president of EOS in North America. This is the impetus behind the company's newest facility, which opened in Pflugerville, Texas, earlier this month.
The new 45,000-square-foot building boasts office space, working showrooms for both plastics and metal AM machines, and capacity for the company’s R&D and venture projects. Located northeast of Austin, this facility provides easy access to the city’s international airport and the University of Texas campus, which may be useful for future recruitment. The new tech center replaces and expands on a previous Round Rock service hub, the employees of which have been relocated to Pflugerville. Currently the building houses about 40 employees, but has space for as many as 100. (EOS will continue to operate its separate materials mixing facility in Temple, Texas.)
This technical center will help EOS better serve its customers in the southern United States, but the Pflugerville location is only one part of the plan. EOS's final objective is better coverage of the entire North American continent. “We're well-established and local to our customers in the Midwest with our facility in Novi, Michigan. This [new location] gives us a strong presence in the South,” says Fletcher. “Next will be Northern California, and if everything goes according to plan, shortly after that we'll have a facility in New England, probably close to Boston."
This plan is a clear commitment to the growing North American market, says Dr. Adrian Keppler, executive vice president of EOS GmbH, but it is also indicative of something more. Increasing sales in North America for EOS equipment point to growth for additive manufacturing in general. The conversation in manufacturing has shifted away from “Can AM do this?” to more pragmatic considerations, like cost, quality and best practices.
“Many customers ask for support—and it’s not only technical solutions,” noted Dr. Keppler. “It’s also support in terms of consultancy, in terms of helping them develop their internal processes.” Bringing this type of support to customers is “mission-critical” for a company supplying such new technology.
The company’s vision is ultimately to bring AM into existing manufacturing environments, says Keppler. “We have to grow in terms of headcounts, in terms of capabilities, in terms of locations and this is our strategy for the future.”