Rapid.Tech 2013 offers insights into additive manufacturing

Erfurt, Germany - Additive manufacturing (AM), first presented at Rapid.Tech 2004, was once a topic of interest for a few insiders, but is now growing in technological, economic and social impact, as shown in Rapid.Tech 2013 on May 14 to 15. At the same time, the generative manufacturing process is now no longer only used purely in development tools but also in the manufacturing process in certain industries.

"Rapid.Tech has evolved over the past 10 years as a central meeting point for the future of the additive manufacturing technology," reports Wieland Kniffka, the managing director of the Erfurt conference. "The technology has developed from a niche market to an intricate billion dollar industry. Rapid.Tech, with more than 30 speakers from countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, USA, Austria and Romania, is focusing increasingly on the economic issues associated with the development of generative products as well as the technical issues."

At the same time as covering new developments in construction, materials, processes and machinery, the legal aspects as well as the reproducibility and quality checks and assurance of components are also highlighted. The subject forums offer insiders from different industries the opportunities to learn about the latest applications, discuss possibilities of generative processes within their own fields, and take a look at the future. At the same time, there will be numerous new and further developments displayed by some 60 exhibitors to the 400 delegates and 650 visitors expected this year.

The insight into the future is addressed by this year's keynote speaker, David Hayward, projects and operations manager of the Design Studio at Bentley Motors Ltd, Crewe (UK), in his speech "Bentley Motors – 3D printing, creativity and the future".

Special procedures for implementing product ideas through AM are the subject of a lecture session at Designer Day on May 15. Successful applications under the classification of constructive and material technology will abe presented. 

Presentations on future-orientated research strategies for AM such as aircraft repair are also in the program. For the dental industry, additive manufacturing is established in the production of crowns and bridges. Increasingly, Prosthetic structures, dental braces, and even entire denture sets are being produced generatively. The CAD/CAM and rapid manufacturing expert forum offers a thorough and representative survey of the possibilities for generative production. Machines, materials, methods, treatments and applications are presented in the lectures. Also discussed are questions about economy and communications.

The Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance dedicates the first day of Rapid.Tech to scientific and practical aspects of additive manufacturing. How is AM evolving and what are the opportunities arising from it?

3D printing is moving forward at its own place in the industry. Individuals, architects, designers, fashion designers, restorers, inventors and the education sector are also discovering the possibilities of this technology. It is also contributing to the development of low-cost 3D printers. Up until now, there has not been any platform or information-sharing possibility for this hobby and semi-professional area.

This gap has been closed by the Erfurt Trade Fairs with FabCon 3.D, which takes place this year parallel to Rapid.Tech. The range of exhibits includes 3D printers, materials, FabLabs, and Hacker spaces as well as service providers in the field of 3D printers. In addition, lectures, workshops and special events will provide the FabCon 3.D with much information and a great atmosphere.

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