I hope I don’t sound too biased when I note that this is an excellent time for additive manufacturing in the great state of Ohio. As a lifetime resident of Ohio and a years-long member of the 3D printing community, watching this state step up its game and take its place as a tech hub in the US not only makes me proud — it’s keeping me busy. While this week I’m travelling Ohio to visit with some in-state manufacturers, I’m also looking forward to upcoming ports of call on my AM agenda. 3DPrint.com always endeavors to bring you the latest happenings in the industry, and while this particular story started for me in Germany, we’re looking now to — you guessed it — Ohio.
Founded in 2012 and coming to our attention since 2015, France-based BeAM Machines SAS is now making its definitive presence known in the United States. BeAM Machines, Inc., the US subsidiary, has opened the doors to its 20,000-square-foot facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, headed up by Tim Bell. In November, I spoke with Bell and BeAM CEO Emeric d’Arcimoles at formnext in Frankfurt, where they told me that we are “at the beginning of a very great story, a metallurgical industry story.” That story continues now, with their enhanced North American presence.
“Opening a U.S. Subsidiary is a major milestone, given the prospects for robust and rapid growth harbored by the American market. BeAM intends to become a major player in the U.S., which has become the world leader in additive manufacturing,” said d’Arcimoles. “Our General Manager Tim Bell will be a tremendous asset in this drive to conquer the West. His in-depth knowledge of the U.S. market and network of contacts in the industry will help BeAM achieve rapid success in America, the largest additive manufacturing market in the world.”
BeAM is well-known, especially in the European market, for their Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology. The Cincinnati facility, the company notes, is set to offer sales, service, process development, applications, research and development activity, and training, as well as operating as the BeAM Solutions Center for North America. Bell, with over a decade’s experience in the additive sector, is known as a manufacturing expert, and is set to lead the team in Cincinnati; he was also kind enough to fill us in on some of his thoughts on the endeavor.
“The BeAM Machines Solutions Center will provide North America with Sales, Service and Applications Engineering support,” Bell said to 3DPrint.com. “The Applications Engineering support is to help customers get through the learning curve faster if it’s their first AM machine purchase, or help them develop specific processes and materials if they are more advanced in AM.”
Particularly exciting to the team at BeAM Machines, Inc. is the positioning of their offerings in the market. The company will offer BeAM Machines SAS’ MOBILE, MAGIC 2.0, and MODULO AM machine solutions. Having seen finished examples in Frankfurt showing what these machines are capable of, I am excited to see what wider availability of this tech in the US market will mean, especially for the applications that can most benefit form it.
“The advantages of our machines over the competition are unique. The IP in our deposition heads enables customers to have higher levels of powder efficiency, and more accurate depositions with finer surface finishes at similar deposition rates,” Bell said.
As they showed off at formnext with partner Chromalloy, AM solutions from BeAM are capable of repairing intricate and expensive gas turbine engine components that are unable to be properly repaired using traditional subtractive techniques. In addition to repairs, their solutions can also add features and create near-net shapes.
“With the opening of the BeAM Machines Solutions Center here in Cincinnati, it puts us in the Heart of the Aerospace corridor which is quickly becoming the Additive Manufacturing Corridor that stretches from Michigan to Alabama,” Bell told me. “Additionally we are building relationships with the local universities to help guide them in their mission to build strong Additive Manufacturing curriculum as well as working together to build AM health and safety standards.”
Metal technologies are impacting the additive manufacturing industry in a big way, as we continue to see fast growth and adoption in this sector. Aerospace applications in particular hold massive potential, as BeAM’s technology allows for repairs and work with complex architectures, ultimately saving users significantly in terms of both time and cost. As Bell notes of the Aerospace Corridor, targeting the US market — and setting up shop where they have geographically — looks to be a strong strategy for BeAM.
“We are very confident to have a significant share of this market in the US,” d’Arcimoles told me of their North American expansion at formnext. “The US market is very important, representing a huge investment for small companies. This also offers flexibility.”
The team at BeAM have been taking seriously the shape of the market as well as feedback from customers, as Bell has highlighted the importance of collaboration and experience across multiple sectors — not only aerospace, but also defense, nuclear, and oil and gas.
BeAM describes their additive manufacturing options as:
- Mobile, optimized for small and medium production volumes as well as the repair of thin and complex parts
- Magic 2.0, a large scale 5 axis machine designed for serial production or repair of high value components in industries with long lead times and high buy-to-fly ratios
- Modulo, a smaller fully integrated 5 axis serial production machine ideal for constrained space environments or even used in remote places such as oil rigs, military conflict zones, etc.
We can certainly expect to be hearing more from BeAM as the company continues to push forward, making its presence known in the US as well as ongoing work in Europe. In the coming months, I’ll be visiting the Cincinnati site, so stay tuned to see more of the latest in metal technologies.
[Photos: Taken at formnext 2016 by Sarah Goehrke for 3DPrint.com unless otherwise credited]