Pieter Vos July 6, 2015

Although the summer is about to start and music festivals are popping up everywhere, we’re not talking about those kinds of metal heads. We mean the guys that make sure our aluminum printing service runs smoothly. Is it as much fun as attending a summer festival?

About three months ago, Materialise announced the availability of aluminum for its industrial customers. It was the first metal option in to a portfolio of more than twenty 3D printing polymers. Meanwhile, orders run in and metal printing is on track. Time to have a look at the driving forces behind all this: Koen Tackx and Sven Hermans.

Machine operator Koen Tackx has almost 30 years of experience in the metal industry and first came in touch with metal printing two years ago. “Additive manufacturing has always fascinated me and I’ve been following the evolutions in the field closely,” says Koen. When the time was right, Koen invested in metal printing and started his own firm. That was until it was acquired by Materialise, where he now runs the aluminum production. For Koen, the past months have felt a bit like one long rollercoaster ride.

“Suddenly having access to all these markets where Materialise is active opens a lot of interesting possibilities. All this knowledge present at Materialise is now also shared with me. That means I’m not just making sure the orders are delivered on time and meet the quality standards, it also means doing research and discovering new applications.”

No orders without sales, so seasoned Materialise sales man Sven Hermans was given the freedom to develop business for aluminum printing. Sven joined Materialise in 2008 and served as an account manager for the Benelux market for more than three years.

“I now serve as the link between the sales team and Koen, making sure both sides have the information they need to sell and print aluminum parts,” explains Sven. “Furthermore I keep the sales pipeline full by studying markets and customers that can benefit from laser melting.”

When asked who those customers are, both Koen and Sven agree aluminum is probably one of the most versatile printing materials available, and thus used in a variety of applications. “The main benefits are its excellent strength and thermal properties,” says Koen. “And the fact that it’s extremely light-weight.”

Do you want to discover what 3D-printed aluminum can do for you? -> Metal 3D Printing at Materialise