"The eye is the point at which the soul and body merge." It is not clear whether the designers from Hoet oriented themselves on this quote by dramatist and lyricist Christian Friedrich Hebbel. But looking at the classic and inimitable design of the new collection, one could easily think so. This eye-catching range was made possible by Additive Manufacturing technology. EOS partner Raytech from Belgium was responsible for the technical realization of the design.
We had three reasons for choosing on Additive Manufacturing for our new eyewear frames: We were able to create things in a way that would not have been possible with standard technologies. We could manufacture various sizes without incurring additional costs. And it is a green technology that, thanks to its flexibility, clearly reduces consumption of both energy and materials.
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. 'Anything goes' could be the tag line for Additive Manufacturing. That Hoet, a design-driven company, was attracted to the technology is no surprise. With an eye on the exceptional freedom it affords in the realization ideas, Bieke Hoet set to work on creating designs for the collection.
Once the creative work had been completed, the company chose apply existing expertise to ensure its efficient production. The search for an experienced partner eventually led to Raytech, a company based close to Hoet's premises in Bruges. Raytech had many years of experience and displayed the required level of expertise in additive manufacturing. For example, the company is a supplier to the electronic and automotive industries. The metal-based version of the technology DMLS, in which a laser builds up a component layer by layer from a powder, is of huge significance to clients in these sectors.
Together, Hoet and Raytech developed a production concept. This included 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. So the design, material and process were now in place. All that was missing was the means of production. Raytech decided once again to utilize its in-house EOS system: "What convinced us about EOS was the company's excellent service and, in particular, its quick and competent application advice. Its hands-on attitude, fast response and leading technology, combined with an excellent production system, maked for a coherent overall package," says Paul Raymaekers, owner and managing director of Raytech.
In our opinion, EOS is the best partner that we could work with in the additive manufacturing sector. We were particularly impressed that we had immediate access to contacts with a high level of competence in the optical sector and with regard to the titanium material that we use. This basic knowledge, coupled with the quickly produced, high value test samples, convinced us that we had made the right choice of partner.