Monica Smith moved from the US to Germany to work as an Application Development Consultant for EOS. Even though she travels a lot for her job, she is now based in Munich and specialized in applied process consulting. Her job consists of helping customers achieve serial production in Additive Manufacturing with their application. As she said, the Additive Manufacturing environment is so fast-paced, they are constantly learning and pushing the possibilities of 3D Printing.
Could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?
I had the opportunity after my sophomore year at the University of Connecticut to do an internship in the Additive Manufacturing Group at Pratt & Whitney. Before my internship, I had no idea what AM was but after the first week, I knew I wanted to be a part of this industry and build my career in AM. We had an incredible, motivated team with very diverse backgrounds. I spent that summer working with and designing experiments for metal AM equipment. It just so happened that same summer that I did my internship, Pratt & Whitney opened the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center at my university. I continued on the team as a co-op and spent three days a week creating build files and running the machines on campus. I was very lucky as a student to have access to state-of-the-art equipment and also to have a supervisor who encouraged me to experiment with and test the technology.
Have you followed a course about 3D Printing during your studies?
While we didn’t have any formal courses on 3D Printing at my university, I was able to do independent study research using the machines at the AM Innovation Center. Most of the work that I did was on design features for AM.
What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
The summer that I worked at Pratt & Whitney was my first experience with 3D Printing. I was working with some of the newest technology, machines that were the first of their kind on the east coast. I was able in that summer to create build files and see my parts in just a few days. I was immediately hooked on the industry.
Could you explain furthermore what your company is and the services that you are providing?
EOS is the world’s leading technology supplier in the field of industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers. At Additive Minds, the consulting unit of EOS, we enable our customers to produce innovative and high-quality products based on industrial 3D printing technologies. In particular, what my team is focused on is walking step-by-step alongside our customers throughout the whole AM process chain, from selecting the right parts, to re-design, and implementing serial production. In addition we have a mission to develop and grow the Additive Minds mentality which is why I developed our Expert Program.
Could you describe your work at EOS?
I focus on applied process consulting. My main role is to support our customers in optimizing processes on metal AM machines. I use my knowledge of our EOS systems in order to help customers develop parameters for their innovative applications. Our customers range from brand new users to experienced experts. Sometimes the work is on the fundamentals of editing parameters and inspiring customers about the possibilities of where they can go with AM. Other times it is helping them develop more efficient parameters for serial production or evaluating a new material powder to be built using our machines.
To what industries belong the customers you give training to?
My customers come from all industries, automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial, etc. I really enjoy that about my job! I have the opportunity to see many different applications for our technology and bring my expertise into each industry.
How is the 3D printing industry in Germany today?
Strong! It is a very lively industry, lots of growth and development.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?
Through my role as a consultant I travel to customers all over the world. I’ve led workshops in Turkey, collaborated with partners in the UK, learned how to drive a manual car on a business trip to Poland. It has been quite the adventure working in different countries and getting to experience the working environment of different cultures as well.
I also really enjoy the culture at EOS. Our HR department does a great job of seeking out individuals who really love what they do and are committed to the EOS values. The team we have is very special and like nothing I have experienced at any other company. There isn’t a single person at EOS that I wouldn’t grab a beer with after work.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
Aerospace will always be cool to me (3D printed parts on satellites and rockets! In space!!). I am also amazed by the 3D printing advancements in the medical industry.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you:
- As a business person?
The rate at which the 3D printing industry is growing makes it very exciting! Development is happening quickly. AM offers complete new business models for organizations.
- As a woman?
I think the fact that everything is new makes it particularly interesting for me as a woman. Women have the opportunity to jump in where we see a need and really lead this industry. Also since it is a new industry I don’t feel like the “boys club” is as prevalent as in traditional manufacturing companies. Women can shape the culture of this industry and future development of this disruptive technology.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
One of the biggest ways, which I think Women in 3D Printing is doing a great job in tackling, is giving young women role models in 3D printing. I was very fortunate in my previous job to have an incredible supervisor and mentor, who I continue to look up to and seek advice from (see Caitlin Oswald, also here on WI3DP). Caitlin believed in me and she encouraged me to take on challenging project which instilled confidence in me.
Another is in changing the conversation about engineering and showing young women that engineering is a creative field that makes a huge impact on the world. At the University of Connecticut I was a part of the Engineering Ambassadors outreach organization. Our mission was to inspire k-12 students to pursue engineering as a career through engaging presentations on engineering applications.
Lastly, put a 3D printer in front of them! For our Engineering Ambassadors presentations on 3D printing we would bring a desktop plastic FDM printer with us and let them run all day. The students were mesmerized by them. This always renewed my passion for what I do, by watching kids get so excited about the possibilities of the technology.
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?
Tons! I have several incredible female colleagues here at EOS, who inspire me every day and also some really great customers. At EOS in particular I would love to recommend my colleague Julia, who did her masters in Biomimetics and did her thesis on an AM heat exchanger modeled after shark gills, which I think is so cool, and also another colleague, Laura who leads our global medical business development team and is a role model of mine. Outside of EOS I recently had the pleasure of meeting a customer of ours who is an incredible designer, manages a university innovation lab, and is also a huge advocate for increasing the number of women in the engineering field.
Thank you for reading and for sharing!