The type of relationship that exists between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) suppliers can vary greatly, depending on industry. In aviation, OEMs’ growing prominence in the MRO sector has fueled increased competition between the two, resulting in many MRO providers expanding their capabilities to include those traditionally offered by OEMs.

Food equipment manufacturers, in contrast, see MRO suppliers as a critical resource to keep their machines up and running. The two groups work closely together to optimize food production and worker safety in every plant.

Separately, OEMs and MROs have their own unique needs to succeed in business. Utrecht, Netherlands-based ERIKS NV specializes in meeting these needs when related to high-quality mechanical engineering components (valves, industrial plastics, etc.) and associated technical and logistics services.

This past March, ERIKS equipped its production facilities in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, with multiple Ultimaker BV S5 Pro Bundle 3D printers. One facility complies with strict EC food contact regulations, enabling it to print food-safe parts and tools for OEM and MRO customers.

“We developed the Clean Manufacturing Facility for parts and tools used in environments in which food is produced,” says Job van de Sande, head of technology sealing and polymer technology at ERIKS. “This space is EC1935/2004 compliant for its manufacturing, has dedicated clean production areas and a large-scale ISO Class 6 clean room.

“In addition, we are currently working on earning food-safe FDA compliances and certifications for 3D printing,” adds van de Sande. “This will enable us to 3D print certified parts and tools that can be used in an atmosphere [where] food is produced.”

“By combining our industry, product and application knowledge with accessible and reliable 3D printing, we can fully support our customers in co-engineering parts with more speed and design freedom than when using injection molding,” explains Sander Splinter, managing director at ERIKS Netherlands. “In 2019, we managed to save more than 350,000 euros by implementing 3D-printed production aids and eliminating safety hazards in our own facilities. We are now gradually helping our customers benefit from 3D printing, by advising them, based on data analysis, which parts are suitable to print. Through visits at their facilities, we can co-engineer and identify [3D printing] applications, [while] guaranteeing quality, reproducible and reliable parts according to their specific industry standards.”

According to Jos Burger, CEO at Ultimaker, the Pro Bundle enables uninterrupted printing and easy front-loading of up to six filaments.

For more information on 3D printers, call 888-229-9046 or visit