SLM Solutions – Leading with Laser

SLM Solutions is driving a new era of manufacturing.

It’s innovative. It’s highly techie. It’s pushing the limits on everything we think we know about traditional manufacturing. Today, SLM Solutions is the leading global provider of industrial additive manufacturing (AM) systems, and its industry-leading, multi-laser technology is disrupting the realms of conventional manufacturing.

SLM Solutions enables the rapid yet straightforward creation of intricately shaped parts previously deemed impossible with traditional techniques such as casting, drilling, or milling. The future-proof technology they provide effectively eliminates conventional manufacturing constraints, enabling unprecedented design freedom and much faster turnarounds.

Since their inception, the Lübeck-based technology leader has installed more than 650 machines around the world—a number that is continually growing. In fact, its growth is so substantial that companies who haven’t already adopted its powerful technology are now looking at how AM could provide them, too, with a bold new path into the future. With an extensive customer base in Europe and the US, they hold nearly 400 individual IP rights publications in various countries and 130 granted patents worldwide.

“We are a forward-thinking technology company that has consistently created world firsts in the field of metal additive manufacturing,” says Sam O’Leary, the company’s CEO.

“We have a proud technology heritage as one of the inventors and patent holders of the core process and continue to push boundaries everyday thanks to the creativity of our global workforce, of whom over 40% are engineers, including myself.”

He affirms that he entered the CEO role with a vision to change the future of manufacturing by developing and industrializing the world’s most cutting-edge metal AM technologies and servicing the global customer base with an end-to-end solutions portfolio.

Present meets future

“We are laser focussed in our area of expertise. Our trademark ‘SLM’ is used globally to describe the process—Selective Laser Melting,” explains Sam.

Today, the company’s Selective Laser Melting machines and associated solutions are used for serial production in just about every industrial sector. The company is proud to work with the biggest names in aviation & defence, space exploration, automotive, energy, medical, motorsports, and research and development.

“One of the many amazing things about our business is the diversity of those who have adopted the technology. In a matter of hours, I speak to customers making titanium hip implants, to the heads of the world’s leading research institutes, to an F1 team, to the world’s biggest automotive OEMs, then to the likes of Boeing, Safran, and Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and the world’s leading space companies. Across the board, the application of our technology is a true game-changer.” says Sam.

“The success of our customers is our success,” he continues.” The customer-first mentality is fundamental at SLM Solutions and is embodied in our global application centres. We develop specific application cases with our customers in Germany, the US, China, and Singapore.”

Pushing the limits

The company is constantly investing in improving its facilities and operations, most notably in R&D. In 2020, the company reinvested 20% of its revenue into the area, representing a relentless approach to maintaining technology leadership in the field.

In November 2020, SLM Solutions unveiled its latest innovation: The NXG XII 600. The trailblazing new system boasts 12 lasers, each with 1 kW power and a build envelope of 600x600x600mm. The machine sets unparalleled milestones in terms of productivity, size, reliability, and safety and paves the way to a bright new future of manufacturing.

But it’s not all about technology, says Sam. “The second major investment theme for us is people. We have a fantastic global employee base comprised of some of the world’s most talented people. And, among the roughly 450 people in our global team, the average age is just 37.  We will continue to invest in our staff, develop our existing team, and add more great talent.”

“The next 12-18 months will be an exhilarating time for SLM Solutions. Given the unprecedented global impact of Covid-19, we have already communicated strong growth guidance for 2021, with at least a 15% increase in revenue.”

He affirms that the pandemic did not hinder development. Despite the coronavirus crisis the company managed to grow 26% during 2020. In addition to this, SLM Solutions delivered its Additive Alliance: Fighting against Corona program, an initiative to combine the additive manufacturing industry forces to fight against the coronavirus’s effects.

“As we move into 2022, we will deliver the first production units of our ground-breaking and world-leading new machine, the NXG XII 600, to customers in the automotive and aerospace sectors, amongst others. Notwithstanding that, we also may have some other cool product launches up our sleeves as we move through the year. One thing that will remain is the commitment in our DNA to pushing the limits of technology.”

Environmental benefits

SLM Solutions technology also enables fantastic applications that deliver immediate and substantial environmental impact. Through its environmentally – related ISO certifications and many characteristics of its products, SLM Solutions demonstrates that ecological consciousness is already deeply rooted in its DNA.

“With additive manufacturing technology, we are at the forefront of the transition to greener manufacturing,” affirms Sam. “In comparison to traditional manufacturing methods like casting or machining, additive manufacturing improves the environmental footprint of manufacturing and thus contributes to the global effort to save our planet’s resources.”

The company also focuses on internally lowering its environmental impact. With its new headquarters in Lübeck completed in 2018, SLM Solutions has made a big step towards greener manufacturing. The state-of-the-art building complies with the highest regulatory standards in terms of energy efficiency and insulation. The photovoltaic system installed on the headquarters’ roof meets more than 10% of the building’s electricity in the summer months, and 60% of externally purchased energy is generated from renewable energy sources.

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