Erfurt defends its title as the capital of 3D Printing
Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D continue to grow with record-breaking visitor and exhibitor numbers: 4800 attendees explored the latest developments in Additive Manufacturing at the world-class conference and at the 207 exhibitors’ stands
Erfurt. The 14th edition of Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D continued on its record-breaking trend: 4800 visitors and conference attendees (2016: 4500) came to Erfurt for the specialist conference and trade show between 20 and 22 June 2017. Exhibitor numbers were also up. 207 companies, research institutions, organisations and associations were in attendance, a 20 per cent increase on the total for 2016 and occupying 24 per cent more exhibition space with their stands. Market and technology leaders such as 3D Systems, Concept Laser, Stratasys and Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik, as well as renowned research institutions, Start-Ups and networks from 13 countries including Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and the USA attended the event.
But it was not just the numbers that increased; visitors and exhibitors increased in quality, too. “This continued professionalisation of our audience could be seen in both the high-quality and very well-attended conference programme and the attractive stands. Many people we spoke to told us that they had noticed this development. We also saw that additive technologies are making deeper inroads into industry and generating ideas for new or remodelled businesses,” said Chairmen of the Advisory Board Michael Eichmann (Stratasys GmbH) and Professor Gerd Witt (University of Duisburg-Essen) when asked for their first impressions.
Some of the drivers for these developments were discussed by the renowned global players who had travelled to the Thuringian capital to give the keynote presentations. Attendees on the first day had the chance to see none other than Charles “Chuck” W. Hull, the American “creator” of 3D Printing and co-founder of 3D Systems. He was followed on the second day by Steffen Schrodt and Christoph Hansen of Sauber Aerodynamik AG, who explained how Additive Manufacturing is being used to increase speeds in Formula 1. And on the third day, Sean Keith, Manager of GE Additive, discussed the breath-taking speed with which the 3D Printing technology leader is driving the additive revolution in the aviation industry. The topics discussed in the Rapid.Tech keynotes were explored in greater depth by 93 experts from nine countries at the Users Conference and ten industry-specific trade forums.
While Rapid.Tech focused on industrial applications, FabCon 3.D with the 3D Printing Conference which runs in parallel, served as a meeting place for the international 3D Printing community, bringing together creative Start-Ups, prominent players and hobbyists. This is where the winners of this year’s Start-Up Award were announced. First prize for the 2017 competition went to Swiss firm UrbanAlps AG for their 3D printed duplication-proof key, the first of its kind in the world. The 3D Pioneers Challenge was held for the second time, with prize winners honoured for their innovative 3D applications in five different categories.
There were also calls for 3D Printing to be integrated into every stage of learning, from school, vocational training and university courses to professional development programmes. 150 companies and institutions at the event in Erfurt signed a petition calling on the German government to consider this demand.
“The success of this year’s event proved that we had taken the right decision to continue to expand this combination of a specialist conference and exhibition that is unique in the German trade fair landscape. Erfurt has defended its title as the capital of 3D Printing. That can be seen from our visitor statistics. A third of those who attended had travelled more than 300 kilometres to be here,” said Michael Kynast, CEO of Messe Erfurt GmbH.
The 15th edition of Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D will take place from 5 to 7 June 2018.
Claire Fischer, Marketing Manager, SLM Solutions Group AG, Lübeck:
We have been attending the trade show for many years, and we have also had many in-depth discussions this year. We received a number of enquiries about specific applications from trade visitors. We were able to explain much of what we do by presenting a new version of a machine for aluminium processing in medium-sized companies, and we also used it to win over people who are not as familiar with Additive Manufacturing technologies. Many of the questions concerned which materials can be used, how they are processed, what a normal working day looks like with a machine like this, and what services are available to assist organisations in gaining their first experiences with the technology.
Katharina Berres, Marketing & Communication Manager, Wacker Chemie AG, Burghausen:
Rapid.Tech is a very interesting trade show for us. This is the first time we have exhibited, and we have used it as an opportunity to introduce our new technology for silicone 3D Printing to a wider market. We greeted a whole range of people at our stand, from international global players to medium-sized companies from the local region. Many visitors were astounded by the new opportunities our development opens up. Trade shows are still a good platform for making contacts. We will return to Erfurt next year.
Anna Theodorides, Customer Relations Specialist Central Europe, EOS GmbH, Krailling:
Visitors came to our stand with many different goals in mind. Some were already experts and had very detailed questions concerning the applications of our machine technology. Others who weren’t quite as well-versed in the technology had the opportunity to deepen their understanding of 3D Printing, too.
Lisa Frank, Marketing, botspot GmbH, Berlin:
When you ask our office who wants to go to Erfurt to man the stand at FabCon 3.D, everyone’s hand goes up. This shows what a fantastic, well-organised event it is. It’s the perfect place for our products as the 3D scanning systems we develop and market are the basis for the preliminary stage in 3D Printing. We are constantly finding new customers from within the industry here, and this year was another chance for us to discuss new projects.
Dr. Alejandro Ojeda, Managing Director, UrbanAlps AG, Zurich:
As a young company, this was our first time in Erfurt, and we were delighted to win the Start-Up Award with our duplication-proof 3D printed key. We liked the fact that the Start-Up Area was positioned centrally, which meant that we got a lot of footfall. You don’t get that at other trade fairs.