Every year we write about the upcoming yearly events and conferences related to Additive Manufacturing (AM) and while each year and each conference brings new advancements there is something else worth noticing this year. This year on top of the well known AM conferences such as RAPID and Formnext there are, on one hand, industrial conferences which include AM technologies alongside other industrial manufacturing solutions, and on the other hand, there are conferences dedicated to specific uses and applications of AM. These two directions exemplify the state of the additive manufacturing ecosystem, expanding and specializing simultaneously. Here are the conferences we are looking forward to this year, in 3 categories: the AM Shows, the Bigger Picture and the Specialized.
The AM Shows
The additive manufacturing conferences have been growing over the last years, every year bringing in more visitors and exhibitors than the last. One example is AMUG – when founded in the 80s it was more of a gathering – a group of 12 engaged in 3D printing (stereolithography) under the name 3D Systems North American Stereolithography Users Group. Last year, AMUG, or the Additive Manufacturing Users Group celebrated 30 years with 1705 attendees from 29 countries.
AMUG: Chicago, March 31 – April 4
AMUG is as much about sharing and networking as it is about gaining knowledge, the conference is composed of networking events and sessions of exchanging knowledge. The sessions include training labs focused on specific topics – technologies, applications, use cases, and issues such as certification or safety, and sponsor sessions that are conducted by companies such as HP, Carbon, GE Additive, BASF, EOS. The long list of sponsors and sessions provide both a platform for showcasing as well a place for interacting (below additively manufactured Vitamix Nozzles on Carbon‘s platform).
3D Printing Europe: Berlin, April 10-14
3D Printing Europe is part 8 conferences happening simultaneously organized by IDTechEx, a technology and market research firm. The multiple conferences encourage a cross section between industries and across the supply chain, they even have a ’match-making’ service to facilitate interactions. One of the keynote speakers is Dr. Steven Ribeiro-Ayeh Senior Additive Manufacturing Consultant at Dassault Systèmes who will discuss: Print To Perform: Validated And Deployed Solutions For Additive Manufacturing.
RAPID + TCT: Detroit, May 21-23
Rapid 2018 reported over 300 exhibiting companies, and over 150 presentations. One of the keynote speakers this year is Dr. Dominik Rietzel, Head of Additive Manufacturing at the BMW Group. Dr. Rietzel will talk about “Shaping New Ways for Smart Automotive Production by Using AM”, I imagine this won’t be a theoretical talk as BMW recently 3D printed its one-millionth part. It seems that RAPID is the place for AM ecosystem announcements, last year HP showcased their ability to 3D print 140 parts for their Jet Fusion 3D printers, GE Additive unveiled the Arcam EBM Spectra H printer – let’s see what 2019 will bring (below is an air duct for the HP MJF printer, redesigned from an assembly of 7 components to 1 part printed on the MJF printer).
Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D: Erfurt, June 25-27
Another AM show is Rapid Tech + FabCon 3.D. The conference which has been taking place for the last 15 years, hosted around 5000 visitors and 200 exhibitors in 2018. The event offers a cross between exhibition conference and networking, as well as 2 awards – the Startup Award and the 3D Pioneers Challenge. While this is a smaller conference, it is a veteran and the German market is particularly interesting in AM.
Formnext: Frankfurt, November 19-22
Formnext is another must for the LEO Lane team, showing the depth and scope of the additive manufacturing ecosystem. Last year the conference reported having 26,919 visitors and 632 exhibitors from 32 countries, anticipating even higher numbers this year Formnext will be moving to a bigger location. November might seem far away but time moves fast in the AM ecosystem (up top an E-Motor Housing, engineered by RCS Engineering and manufactured by M&H CNC Technik, exhibited last year at Formnext).
The Bigger Picture
While the AM shows focus on inter-connectivity within the ecosystem, shows such as Hannover Messe exemplify that a great deal of the potential of additive manufacturing is in enabling and enhancing workflows and supply chains.
Hannover Messe: Hannover, April 1-5
Hannover Messe is one of the biggest industrial shows in the world, with over 6500 exhibitors and over 220,000 visitors in 4 days. Last year we saw a shift in approach towards manufacturing, in Hannover Messe and other industrially oriented events, everyone was talking about connectivity, IOT, smart factories, digital manufacturing, the digital twin and the digital supply chain (below Digital Twin by SAP). Following the digitization of manufacturing, this year Hannover Messe will debut the Future of Work in Industry conference, alongside the Lightweight Design Summit and The first Industrial Pioneers Summit discussing what will happen after industry 4.0. Of course in all of these additive manufacturing plays an important part.
Logistics CIO Forum: Amsterdam March 5-6
Digital manufacturing extends to logistics and the supply chain. In his predictions toward 2019 we highlighted the integration of AM in logistics and supply chain flows as a method of cutting costs and creating new revenue sources. Therefore it’s only natural to include additive manufacturing in a logistics conference, especially when discussing agility and digital manufacturing.
Transportation is a sector that has been integrating digital manufacturing and additively manufactured parts, in various applications. 3D printing in the automotive industry is on the verge of mainstream adoption according to the Gartner Hype Cycle. It makes sense that in order to continue widening the uses and applications there would be specific conferences and events dedicated to specific uses.
Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace and Space: London February 26-28
The Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace & Space conference that will take place later this month will address the performance and economics aspect of integrating AM for aerospace and space applications. The conference will host speakers specializing in additive manufacturing, but also speakers working on matters of certification, safety, aviation, policies etc. The lucky attendees will also get a chance to visit the Airbus Space Systems facility, located not far from London (below 3D printed titanium commercial airplane component for Boeing Dreamliner, above 3D printing parts at Airbus).
AMI Composites in Rail: Berlin, 25-26 June
The Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace & Space conference is in its 5th year, yet for the AMI’s Composites in Rail conference, it’s the first year. This technical conference will discuss the challenges and opportunities for composite materials in the rail sector. One of the speakers is Stefanie Brickwede, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Deutsche Bahn and Managing Director at Mobility Goes Additive, which will discuss using 3D printing to solve obsolescence problems.
Whether you’re an AM ecosystem veteran or a first timer looking for the right AM use for your production, these conferences provide knowledge but even more so, the ability to put it to use and to discuss with like-minded colleagues.