Longtime precision-machining shop adds 3D printing
By Greg Bartlett
With its new EOS M 290 additive-manufacturing system, Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Cos. (ITAMCO) now 3D-prints medical devices. After obtaining the system in June, the company started shipping components in August.
The fast ramp-up was partially because of the experience Plymouth, Ind.-based ITAMCO gained while contributing to the development of AM software called Atlas 3D, which a division of ITAMCO markets. The company was part of a consortium of manufacturers and universities that collaborated to develop the program through America Makes, a multimillion-dollar U.S. government-sponsored manufacturing initiative.
Another reason for ITAMCO’s efficient entry into AM was EOS GmbH, Krailling, Germany.
A 3D-printed bevel gear created with the EOS M 290 printer. Image courtesy of ITAMCO
“The EOS printer is the right tool for our complex components made with DMLS [direct metal laser sintering], and the EOS team trained our staff and got us up and running quickly,” said Joel Neidig, director of R&D at ITAMCO. “The printer works seamlessly with Atlas 3D too.”
Jon Walker, area sales manager at EOS North America, said ITAMCO is an ideal partner for EOS.
“Three generations of ITAMCO leaders have supplied traditional subtractive-manufactured parts to some of the best-known organizations in the world,” he said. “Due to their reputation, ITAMCO’s investment in additive manufacturing validates the 3D-printing market, especially in highly regulated industries where testing and validation of components or devices is critical.”
The medical device industry is a relatively new market for ITAMCO, which has served heavy-duty industries for decades.
“Additive manufacturing is allowing us to do things we’ve not done before, like producing the smaller, more intricate components for the medical device industry,” Neidig said.
When creating 3D-printed parts, ITAMCO tries as much as possible to minimize the subtractive work required later on the items.
“When you’re doing a build, you try to minimize the machining so you have less processing,” Neidig said. “From a subtractive standpoint, sometimes it’s significant in terms of what needs to be removed. You have to basically saw-cut or EDM off the build plate, and then once you do that, the part could require grinding. Or sometimes [operators] break the support structure off with pliers. Or sometimes it requires machining, such as turning or milling.”
Given ITAMCO’s proximity to numerous medical implant manufacturers in Indiana, such as those in nearby Warsaw, entering this industry is logical.
“We’ve hired two people from medical device companies to work for us,” Neidig said. “Of course, we will continue to expand our presence in our current markets by offering additive manufacturing and the high-quality subtractive manufacturing that made us so successful.”
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