© Wilting
Author profile picture

Supplier Wilting won the first Best Knowledge Sharing Award at the Manufacturing Technology Conference. At the end of the well-attended event, Jan Jaap Kuit of ASML presented the award to Wilting’s Remco van der Loo and Remon Haarsma. The bulky award, designed by ASML engineers, was milled from a full block of aluminum by Beijing Jingdiao students.

This year, there will again be a Best Knowledge Sharing Award. Who will get it will be known at the end of this year’s edition, which will take place on April 16. The purpose of this annual event is to bring technicians from the design and manufacturing industry together to share knowledge about manufacturability. Mikrocentrum is the organizer of the event and of the award, supported by the Knowledge Sharing Centre.

Winning the Best Knowledge Sharing Award at last year’s Manufacturing Technology Conference was a “moment of realization” for Remon Haarsma and Remco van der Loo of Wilting. “For us, what we presented there is more or less business as usual. We do it every day and actually don’t always realize that it is a very special technique after all. So when we won that award, we realized that what we are doing here together is quite special after all.”

Wilting has years of experience in industrializing precision mechanical parts and mechatronic modules, increasingly from additive manufacturing or 3D printing. This is done for a wide range of sectors within the high-tech manufacturing industry, from semiconductors to aerospace, food processing, and automotive. In doing so, the company emphasizes reproducibility and predictability of repeat orders. And very high accuracy, both in CNC milling and 3D printing or a combination of the two.

According to the judges at MTC

Wilting presented 3D metal printing of components for high-tech OEMs such as ASML at the Manufacturing Technology Conference of 2023. According to the judges, Wilting did a great job of adding additive manufacturing (AM) to the company’s base of machining production of precision components. In the presentation, Wilting clarified how CNC machines can set themselves to the AM parts to be machined without the need for an operator to be present. In addition, Wilting developed a solution to stably clamp the AM parts without creating stresses in the material. This allows for accuracies of a few microns in post-processing. In this way, the supplier succeeds in building a 24/7 process chain for the combination of additive manufacturing of precise parts.

© Wilting

But how does Wilting distinguish itself in that market that seems to be getting fuller by the day? Van der Loo: “To an outsider, 3D printing may seem like a simple process: you feed the machine with an order and hop out a product. But that’s not how it works, at least not if you want to achieve the accuracy our customers understandably demand. That only works because we know how to combine 30 years of experience in CNC milling with 3D printing, taking our entire chain with us.”

Knowledge holder

That choice makes Wilting the “knowledge holder” of both techniques and, therefore, the combination. “Don’t forget that for optimal results you need experts throughout the chain who take each other into account and their own challenges. “For example, we have products where the powder comes out very hard after printing. So you have to take that into account very carefully. You want to de-powder as well as possible, so you make the right holes and things like that. But can the milling work progress with that? Can our tooling still reach the operations that need to be done? Are the reference surfaces right for milling a certain product? This can only be achieved by sitting down with a project team and determining together how to achieve the highest accuracy with the print work.”

On top of that, it also has to be right as a series. Van der Loo: “That’s the next challenge. You can make a product right once, but it’s only really good if you can make it right twenty times a week. There as well, we distinguish ourselves. Because we focus more on making processes scalable.”

What helps here is that Wilting has succeeded in organizing production in such a way that less experienced millers can also pick up execution. “What you often see elsewhere is that you need a very experienced milling machine for that 3D printer, partly because every product is just a little bit different. We have managed to set up our process in such a way that milling and printing can also be done by less experienced millers. We call that person-independent working, and of course that helps us enormously.”

MTC 2024, simultaneously with Clean 2024

© Wilting

The next edition of the Manufacturing Technology Conference will take place on April 16, 2024. On the same date and location, the 5th edition of the Clean Event will also take place. The theme of Clean 2024 is high cleanliness for high tech. The reason for organizing these two events simultaneously is that knowledge sharing is central to both. Both events focus on high-tech environments, and companies like ASML and Thermo Fisher Scientific are key players.

As a supplier, Wilting is already looking forward to it. Remon Haarsma: “We have, of course, already been thinking about what we want to show visitors there.” Laughing: “We’ve already been told by various people that we could never win such an award two years in a row, so that’s exactly what we’re going to try. No, seriously: we will focus on a piece of cleanliness of print parts, precisely because they are printed and milled at our facility. What are some of the challenges that you’re going to encounter? And just how clean can you get your products compared to regular or conventional products? That’s what we would like to show.”

The example Wilting wants to present is called the “SILC-Clean” process. Haarsma: “That’s the process to improve the cleanliness of 3D printed products. I was thinking that we print several products, one with standard quality and another with the SILC-Clean process. And we then show the difference using a microscope. It would be very nice to show on a microscopic level what happens to the material.”

Interesting conversations

Apart from their own contribution, Haarsma and Van der Loo are already very much looking forward to the rest of the conference. “A day like this is over in no time; we know from experience. You see so many people with whom you can have interesting conversations that you hardly have time to look at all the stands. Fortunately, we walk around there with several colleagues to catch up with each other at the end of the day.”

Tickets for the Manufacturing Technology Conference are available on the event website. More information via Karin Mous: [email protected]


This story is the result of a collaboration between Mikrocentrum and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here