Company 3D prints designer eyeglass frames

Delicate lattice structure of titanium eyeglass frames created using industrial 3D printing from EOS. (PRNewsFoto/EOS s.r.l. Italy)

Industrial 3D printing offers outstanding and unrivalled design freedom. Not only can this advantage be applied to the manufacturing of prototypes, but it also offers immense added value in series production – particularly with products whose design and aesthetics play a significant role in the customers’ purchase decision.

So that the Belgian family-run and design-driven company Hoet was attracted to the Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology is no surprise. Since 1884, the name Hoet and the company behind it have been synonymous with contemporary design. With an eye on the exceptional freedom AM technology affords in the realization of ideas, the designer Bieke Hoet set to work on creating designs for a new eyeglass collection. Once the creative work had been completed, Hoet chose the partner Raytech to ensure the efficient production of eyeglass frames. Raytech had many years of experience and displayed the required level of expertise in Additive Manufacturing.

Developing an AM production concept

Together, Hoet and Raytech developed a production concept including the use of EOS Titanium Ti64 as the core material. Titanium is often used for eyewear frames, because it combines extreme flexibility with high strength and low weight. The metal is also one of the numerous raw materials that can be processed with EOS technology. For production Raytech decided once again to utilize its in-house EOS system EOS M 290.

The results achieved by the triumvirate of Hoet, Raytech, and EOS will not only look great, but they will be there for all to see. The realization of the inimitable classic design with its various complex and delicate lattice structures of the frames was only made possible with the EOS M 290.

With AM, it is also possible to manufacture on demand, eliminating the need to build up stocks. This not only reduces storage costs but also lowers the average production costs of the products sold. A further advantage of the technology is the short time to market, i.e. the time between the product’s design and its availability in retail outlets. Just two months after the installation of the EOS system, the frames were ready to go on sale. And, if required, the manufacturing of additional stock only requires a few days.

See here for the complete case study.

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