SLM Solutions CEO

Our first day at Formnext 2019 started with a press conference on SLM Solutions booth. Meddah Hadjar, CEO of the company, walked us through a presentation of the latest product developments, the "Next Generation" projects of the company as well as several amazing industrialization examples of selective laser melting. 

It was quite interesting to kick off the show with SLM Solutions. Unlike several companies that dedicated a business unit to additive manufacturing, SLM Solutions is a company whose activities are uniquely focused on additive manufacturing and the different ways to foster its adoption. The company therefore addresses various needs of industrials related to equipment, powder, software, consulting and service. As per the words of the CEO, “there are several industrial revolutions. Additive Manufacturing is ours. It is not a side-business for us. This is our core business.”

After a challenging year where several questions have been raised on the economic situation of the company, and where there were challenges in terms of how the management was handled, Hadjar’s arrival at the head of the company brought a fresh wind on how the metal AM specialist will now secure their “go-to-market” strategy, their presence and growth in the AM landscape.  In this vein, Hadjar’s presentation at Formnext underlined the company’s reputation as a pioneer of additive manufacturing.

The next chapter for SLM Solutions

Although it is a manufacturer of metal 3D printing systems, for this 2019 Formnext edition, the company decided to highlight its presence on the international event by highlighting a wide range of expertise and applications rather than showcasing an array of industrial machines.

Don’t get us wrong, the main target of the AM company remains to develop and commercialize AM systems and parts. However, this new approach drew attention on the capabilities of the manufacturer’s machines, through the various parts displayed as well as the current challenges the company still has to overcome.

In this sense, we learned that the automotive industry still raises several barriers that slow the adoption of additive manufacturing. According to SLM Solutions’ spokesperson, “Aerospace and automotive are known as the sectors that drive the most the adoption of industrial additive manufacturing. However, in the automotive industry, the technology is still slowly adapted because of the cost.”

If the CEO did not mention how they plan to overcome this issue, one thing is certain, they will definitely keep an eye on this sector of activity.

Furthermore, for the Head of the company, “other sectors should not be and are not to be neglected. Next to automotive and aerospace, there is a nascent use of additive manufacturing in the energy and oil industries.

Partnerships in progress  

SLM Solutions Group AG and Divergent Technologies signed a letter of Intent for the acquisition of Next Generation AM Machines. Both partners showcased at Formnext, a front quarter-section of Divergent’s fully functional and crashworthy hypercar that features a revolutionary printed chassis structure.

3D Printed Part produced on SLM Solutions system
3D printed component - SLM Solutions
Various 3D Printed components diplayed on SLM Solutions booth at Formnext

Both visitors and representatives of the press have also been able to discover engineered and validated lightweight suspension and chassis parts such as a set of control arms. The displayed parts were manufactured on SLM Solutions’ range of SLM machines suite: SLM®800, SLM®500 and SLM®280 systems – and successfully endured over 450,000 kilometers of simulated road conditions.

As the partners deepen their partnership, Divergent will leverage 5 pre-production SLM Solutions machines as system bulletproofing in its Los Angeles-based facility. The aim of the contract manufacturer is to meet production demand for a number of major global carmaker programs.

According to Divergent’s CEO, Kevin Czinger, who is also part of SLM Solutions Supervisory Board, “Divergent’s initial factory deployment will require at least 20 next generation production machines when commercially available. Already in 2020, Divergent plans to begin series production of safety-critical structures for OEM customers in the US and Europe, followed by a customer rollout of advanced manufacturing facilities.”

Meddah Hadjar, CEO of SLM Solutions concluded, “The next generation machine resulting from this partnership achieves cost productivity enabling the broad use of metal additive manufacturing for true series production.”

SLM Solutions booth at Formnext 2019

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