On 24 April 1989, Dr. Hans J. Langer founded EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems in Gräfelfing, a small municipality to the south of Munich. This day marked the start of a company history characterized by pioneering spirit, passion and courage.

Today, EOS boasts more than 1,250 employees in 15 countries and offers customer support in more than 67 countries.



How it all began

In his capacity as Director of European Operations for the American company General Scanning – global leader in the field of laser beam steering solutions - Doctor of Physics, Dr. Hans J. Langer, is quick to recognize what the development of laser technology could mean for the future of manufacturing.

Intrigued at the thought of creating components by laying down successive layers of material from 3D data using laser technology, Langer approaches his employer with the idea of venturing into the world of laser additive manufacturing. Worried at the prospect of patent disputes, General Scanning declines.  

But the vision of going straight from CAD to manufacturing without tooling for the fabrication of physical components has captured Langer's imagination and he takes the momentous decision to branch out on his own and revolutionize the industrial manufacturing sector. He founds the company EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems.



The first product manufacturing steps

Unlike most company founders, not only does Langer not initially have a finished product, he doesn't even have a prototype. But what he does have is the burning conviction that his idea will be the solution to the challenges faced by key players in the manufacturing industry.

So BMW is the perfect first EOS customer. The Bavarian car manufacturer is desperately looking for a stereolithography machine (a type of resin-based 3D printer) that meets its specifications having failed to find what it needs on the American market. Wolfgang Reitzle, former development manager at BMW, has the foresight to believe in Langer's vision and provides the venture capital for the construction of a laser stereolithography machine designed exclusively to meet BMW's requirements – a machine that currently only exists on paper.

Once commissioned, it is soon evident that the Gräfelfing premises are far too small for the task in hand, so in the same year, the company relocates to nearby Planegg, to the premises of Langer's former employer General Scanning. In order to create more space for his development and systems, Langer also rents a garage.



EOS goes Europe

Just one year after concluding their somewhat unusual deal, EOS delivers the STEREOS 400 – a system that not only meets the requirements and expectations of the Munich car manufacturer, but exceeds them by a mile. In one fell swoop, Langer is a key player and his company EOS is the first, and only, European provider of high-end rapid prototyping systems.

At the same time, the company opens its first branch in France, EOS Electro Optical Systems S.A.



This success attracts the attention of other car manufacturers and EOS continues to pursue its development strategy.

EOS launches its second stereolithography machine on the market, the STEREOS 600. The STEREOS product range sells so well that by its second year, the company not only proves itself profitable with a turnover of 10 million DM, it is already Europe's market leader for high-end rapid prototyping technology.

EOS now has 20 employees.



As European market leader, EOS attracts the attention of international partners like Hitachi Zosen Information Systems (HZS), as well as that of the American competition in the stereolithography sector. 3D Systems sues EOS for patent infringement.
This leads to years of legal wrangling that is both time-consuming and costly – and which almost costs the Bavarian pioneer his company.



On the advice of the Munich-based venture capitalist Falk Strascheg, who was already encouraging Langer to found his company in the late 80's, Langer sells 75% of his EOS shares to Carl Zeiss Jena. This allows him to continue as Managing Director of EOS with a minority holding and shifts responsibility for the patent dispute to the Zeiss Optical Group.

Thanks to his successful stereolithography business and the majority holding of Carl Zeiss Jena, Langer is finally free from legal proceedings and financially secure. EOS begins with the development of its laser sintering system and is a key driver of this technology.

With the EOSINT 350, EOS launches the first European laser sintering system for the manufacture of plastic models on the market, becoming the world's first provider of both laser sintering and stereolithography systems.

EOS continues to grow. The Planegg premises are extended and – due to the majority holding of Carl Zeiss Jena – a production site opened in Jena.
In pursuit of Langer's vision to optimize technology and drive development at a global level with a view to improving people's lives worldwide, EOS concludes a cooperation agreement with Electrolux RD for the development Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology (DMLS). This cooperation produces the EOSINT M 160 – the prototype of a commercial system for the DMLS process and the world's first technology for the direct additive manufacture of metal components.



Within a year, the prototype is also available as a commercial printer. With the EOSINT M 250, a DMLS system for the manufacture of metal tools for plastic injection molding, EOS paves the way for rapid tooling and positions itself as the leading player in high-end rapid tooling technology. 

This year also sees the launch of the STEREOS MAX 600 in the stereolithography sector.

However, Langer still sees a broader horizon ahead and resists restricting his development strategy to resin and powder. EOS further expands its product portfolio and builds a sand laser sintering system, the EOSINT S 350, based on its EOSINT P 350 plastic system, which enables the direct, tool-less manufacture of sand cores/molds for metal cast parts. 



One year after the launch of the EOSINT S 350, EOS launches its first standard EOSINT S 700, which doubles the width of the build area. The EOSINT S 700 is the world's first laser sintering system with two lasers which, together with its fast building speed, considerably accelerates productivity.

EOS aims to offer end-to-end solutions. From concept through creation, the company offers a highly competitive one-stop resource for the perfect interaction of system, material and process.

EOS launches the polyamide material PA 1500 and the glass-filled polyamide PA 1300 GF for the polymer sector.

The start of a joint venture with Hitachi Zosen Information Systems (HZS) is marked by the opening of a joint technology center in Tokyo.



Carl Zeiss Jena pulls out of the rapid prototyping business in order to focus on its core business. Langer jumps at the chance to buy back his shares and concludes a license agreement with 3D Systems. EOS sells the STEREOS product line to 3D Systems and takes over the global patent rights for laser sintering technology. Langer is now determined to pinpoint focus on powder-based additive layer-by-layer manufacturing processes and sets the ball rolling. EOS expands to include an Italian production site in Milan and soon launches two new materials - Cu 3201 (DirectMetal 50) and the fine polyamide material PA 2200.

At the same time, EOS launches its first material management solution - Integrated Process Chain Management (IPCM-S) for the optimum handling of material quantities.



In response to customer demand and rapidly evolving market requirements, EOS recognizes that quality is a key element - its quality management system is awarded ISO 9001 certification.

Development cooperations with a number of major industry players from a range of specialist areas further help EOS to optimize its products. This includes its successful working relationship with Materialise, a cooperation which helps EOS improve the positioning of components in its laser sinter systems.

At the same time, this year sees the launch of facelift EOSINT M 250 Xtended and the materials DirectMetal 50-V2, DirectMetal 100-V3 and DirectSteel 50-V1.



EOS celebrates its 10th anniversary. Years full of commitment, passion, innovation and energy-sapping patent disputes. Years marked by product developments that have been key drivers of industrial 3D printing technology and have helped shape and mold this innovative manufacturing method from the outset.

The polymer technology of EOSINT P moves onto the next generation with the EOSINT P 360.



EOS launches a global innovation on the market - the world's first dual laser system for the additive manufacture of plastic parts - the EOSINT P 700 delivers speed and quality that is unmatched by any other laser-sintering system. Its massive build platform enables significantly higher productivity and its technology creates a wealth of new opportunities for high volume prototype production and flexible, cost-effective series production that can be scaled to market volume.

The demand for metal materials continues to rise. To meet this demand, EOS takes over parts of its partner Electrolux and sets up a new branch in Turku, Finland.



The year of expansion: with a branch in Warwick (UK) EOS further consolidates its presence in Europe while the opening of its first American branch – an EOS Technology Center in Novi (USA) – sees it making the leap across the pond to significantly expand its market presence in North America. A huge step for EOS.

The biocompatibility certification of PA 2200 opens up a whole new world of AM manufacturing options for the medical technology sector.   
It is also the year that EOS launches not only a new metal system – the EOSINT M 250 Xtended – but also 20µm layers for the DMLS process, thus enabling significantly higher part quality. 



For a market to thrive, there has to be healthy competition, which is why Dr. Langer was always more interested in the dissemination and further development of his innovative technology than striving for a possible monopoly position and economic success.

Based on this philosophy, EOS establishes a cooperation with the machine manufacturer Trumpf GmbH & Co. KG, complete with patent cross-license – this enables Trumpf to distribute its own system for DMLS®. 



The year 2003 is dominated by the development and launch of new materials, which opens up a whole new range of target markets. The certification of its material PA 2200, approving it for food contact in compliance with the EU Plastics Directive, enables EOS to leverage its technology for new applications in the food production sector. The world's first aluminum filled fine polyamide material, Alumide, sees EOS once again launching a pioneering innovation. The material DirectSteel H 20 significantly expands AM manufacturing options in the toolmaking sector.

The EOSINT S 750, a system for the direct production of sand cores and molds for metal castings, increases overall productivity by approximately 100% compared to its predecessor the S 700, thus making the DirectCast® process considerably more cost-effective.



It took all of 15 years – but EOS has finally made it: In 2004, Dr. Langer takes the bold step of securing key sections of the patent portfolio for industrial 3D printing, a step that catapults EOS into the position of technology leader for laser additive manufacturing. These are high-risk times, full of setbacks and triumphs. But ultimately, EOS ends on a high…

The direction of development is clear: from prototype construction to series production – which requires greater system productivity and larger build spaces. The two new systems are an important step in this direction: The EOSINT M 270 is the first commercial DMSL system with fiber laser which, thanks to a significantly higher energy density, enables the processing of new metal materials. 

In the plastic laser-sintering sector, the EOSINT P 380i now offers integrated electrical and machine safety concepts.



With the opening of the EOS India Branch Office in Chennai, EOS expands into the Asian market.  

The markets for industrial additive manufacturing continue to grow and customer demands are becoming increasingly specific. It is Dr. Langer's aim to perfect the interaction between laser and powder materials which, in his opinion, can only be successfully achieved if all key elements - systems, materials and process parameters – come from a single source. Following the opening of the Finnish branch in Oy, the purchase of the thermoplastic coating powder company KVS Kunststoffvertrieb Dr. Schiffers GmbH & Co KG in Ulm, represents a significant boost to its powder refinement/production in the polymer sector.  



But Langer is not content to sit on his laurels and leave his patent licenses languishing in a drawer. To realize his vision, his technology needs to be implemented globally - in which case, it would be impossible for a single company to cope with the demand. For this reason, he enters into patent licenses agreements for the DMLS process with his German competitor Concept Laser. 

The EOS team now boasts 250 employees who are passionate about expanding the application options for industrial 3D printing. In this context, EOS collaborates with 3D-Micromac AG to develop a technology for Micro Laser Sintering that enables the manufacture of small metal parts of incredible accuracy, thanks to super thin layers of between 1 µm and 5 µm. With such high-precision applications, EOS opens up a whole new world of possibilities for medical technology and the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
And things really start moving for the medical industry as well this year as the green light is given to the dental industry for the series production of dental prostheses made from the certified metal EOS CobaltChrome SP1. This is soon followed by further solutions for blood centrifuges, dentures, crowns and bridges, implants and hearing devices.
For the polymer sector, 2006 is also the year that EOS launches the EOSINT P 730, the EOSINT P 390 and the FORMIGA P 100 – a plastic laser sintering system that continues to set the benchmark for the industrial 3D printing of polymer parts for many years to come. The EOS material PA 2210 FR is the world's first flame-proof laser sintering powder – an absolute innovation, which enables manufacturers to tap into a whole new spectrum of applications. 

In the same year, EOS opens its third Technology Center in Singapore.



EOS welcomes VIP guests from America: Morris Technologies and GE visit EOS to agree a technical collaboration with the aim of improving the technology and application of direct metal laser sintering. Five years later, Morris will be taken over by GE Aviation.

Just one year post-launch, the FORMIGA P 100 is awarded "Most innovative product in the industrial equipment sector". 

With its new site in Incheon, South Korea, EOS expands its presence in Asia and significantly increases its range of materials: PrimePart DC, PrimePart ST, PA 2202 black and PA 2203 grey are added to the material portfolio. EOS Titanium Ti64 enables the first commercial process for titanium.  



We did it! EOS is now world market leader for laser sintering systems. With some 330 employees, the Bavarian company now boasts an annual turnover of 73 million euro, placing it well ahead of the competition. 

2008 also saw the agreement of further cooperations and patent licenses   including with BEGO – with the aim of increasing utilization of AM processes for customized dental crowns and bridges. Together with MCP-HEK Tooling GmbH, the University of Paderborn, Boeing and Evonik Industries, EOS founds the Direct Manufacturing Research Center (DMRC).

Things are also advancing on the product side: following the launch of its EOSTATE software in 2007, EOS adds new features, such as Powder Tracking and Online Laser Power Control, and in-process quality assurance measures, such as MVR measurement (Melt Volume Rate), which leads to the development of the EOS Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) concept. EOS also develops a new polymer system, the EOS P 800 with two lasers and operating temperatures of up to 385 °C, which enables processing of the material polyaryletherketone (EOS PEEK HP3).
With the launch of EOS CobaltChrome SP2, EOS pioneers the first CE-certified material for medical products, such as dental crowns and bridges.



Not even EOS is immune to the year of the financial crisis – the large OEMs considerably reduce their level of investment and the effects of market uncertainty can be clearly felt.  Nonetheless, EOS continues to develop and innovate: it brings two thermoplastic laser-sintering systems to market, the EOSINT P 395 and the EOSINT P 760. The completely re-engineered laser optics of the EOSINT P 395's Surface Module considerably improves the surface quality of the manufactured parts. It also expands the Integrated Process Chain Management (IPCM) with the EOSINT M.

Even in this period of low sales, the vision of positioning additive manufacturing as key technology for industrial production continues to be a driving force for Langer and his team.  The materials EOS NickelAlloy IN718 and EOS Aluminium AlSi10Mg are launched on the metal sector. In order to standardize the properties of parts and ensure the reliably uniform quality of 3D-printed components, EOS introduces the EOS Part Property Management concept. 

To further expand its micro laser sintering sector (MLS), EOS opens a further branch in Chemnitz. In collaboration with selected partners, the branch specializes in the manufacture of high-precision micro-components. 
Joining forces to create added value: a key aspect of the development and optimization of AM is also its sustainability. In order to incorporate these ideas into the daily business practices of the organization, EOS introduces a range of Corporate Responsibility (CR) initiatives.



EOS is a partner of the University of Applied Sciences in Munich and sponsor and partner of the scholarship program of the Strascheg Center of Entrepreneurship (SCE), a start-up center of the venture capitalist Falk F. Strascheg – a strong supporter of Langer in the early days of EOS. The SCE´s goal is to nurture entrepreneurial thinking and action through education and business start-up support measures, and thus contribute towards a better future. A vision shared by the EOS founder, who has always sought to leverage his pioneering AM technology to improve people's lives.

Langer also founds Electro Optical Systems Nordic AB in Goteborg, Sweden in order to better serve Northern Europe and the Baltic States. 
In addition to the new metal material NickelAlloy IN 625, EOS presents a new metal laser sintering system, the EOSINT M 280. This 3D printer, with optional 200W or 400W fiber laser, is the first printer with laminar flow, which ensures maximum DMLS® quality of components. 
EOS now has a workforce of some 400 people.

Coming soon...

We will publish more about the EOS story soon. Stay tuned!

You don't want to miss any news? Then register here for the EOS Newsletter!