Tuesday at RAPID + TCT conference in Pittsburgh was an exciting affair from start to finish — and most of this was underscored by the phenomenal level of attendees at the show. Each year, RAPID has grown; Terry Wohlers, for example, has logged an impressive 2.5 decades’ attendance, and reporting back on the growth seen in both the event and the industry itself. As additive manufacturing has grown as an industry unto itself and a part of the overall global manufacturing industry, RAPID has expanded to follow suit, flexing its muscles as North America’s premier 3D printing event. This year, organizers are reporting registrations numbering around 6,000 as additive-minded members of the greater community have trekked to the Steel City.
The second day of the conference, and the first with a fully open exhibit hall featuring more than 300 organizations, kicked off fairly dramatically with some slam poetry followed by a look at the growing state of metal 3D printing (notably peppered with the healthy presence of the young, and well-backed, Desktop Metal), SME’s latest growth, and GE‘s additive strategy. The morning’s early sessions were quickly augmented by additional announcements, starting with Stratasys’ press conference as the company announced its new Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator as well as an expansion to its partnership with Desktop Metal. From there, team 3DPrint.com hit the exhibit hall floor, as Mike and I spent much of the day in wall-to-wall interviews talking to some of the leading — and rising — companies in 3D printing. And the evening? That was held for the RAPID welcome event, which invited attendees to experience Pittsburgh’s Heinz Stadium, home of the Steelers — and later to a launch event as Essentium presented its FlashFuse technology.
We’ve been following announcements at RAPID + TCT as they’ve been made, keeping you up to date via social media, and we’ll be sharing fuller details soon — when the busy excitement dies down enough to let us back near our computers. For now, we’re happy to share photos from Tuesday at RAPID 2017 as 3D printing is reaching scalable, realizable applications in plastics, metals, composites, design, and true potential.
RAPID 2017 is running through Thursday, and we’ll be on-site for the duration, looking forward to connecting with even more companies working to advance the latest technologies in 3D printing and talking to experts, analysts, and participants keeping a keen eye on the industry.[All photos: Sarah Goehrke]