Frankfurt has been drawing the crowds together as the 3D printing industry gathers for formnext 2017. The event kicked off yesterday at Messe Frankfurt, bigger than ever before with 471 exhibitors from 33 countries filling 28,000 square meters of exhibit hall space spread over, for the first time, two halls at Frankfurt Messe. Conference organizers are fully cognizant of the increases this year — with 53% more exhibitors and about 50% more floor space than in the 2016 edition, with Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President for formnext at event organizer Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, explaining:
“This impressive growth underscores formnext’s status as the leading international conference and exhibition for additive manufacturing and the next generation of intelligent production solutions.”
Expansion in the exhibit space and a full conference agenda highlight the growth of the industry around additive manufacturing, particularly the industrial sector as new technologies are unveiled for the first time to the world. Announcements have been rolling in for weeks ahead of the official start of formnext, as this event offers a stage unlike any other in the annual conference calendar for big introductions. New hardware, software, materials, installations, partnerships, and resources abound, and are keeping attendees running to take in as much as possible during the four days that make up formnext.
Yesterday carried with it an almost constant feeling of sensory overload, necessarily powered by healthy amounts of coffee along the way, as the bulk of my day was filled with back-to-back press conferences, unveilings, and interviews before the evening festivities kicked off with less formal booth parties across both halls. We’re keeping a close eye on all the announcements coming out, and I am making rounds on the floor to connect with the leading companies in the industry.
Following GE Additive’s unveiling of the anticipated A.T.L.A.S. metal additive manufacturing system, I sat down with Frank Herzog, Founder and CEO of Concept Laser, for a deeper look into the history of and look ahead for metal 3D printing. Keep an eye out for the full interview in the coming days.
Press conferences filled much of the morning, with announcements including:
- XJet’s presentation of the Carmel additive manufacturing system, including its first global installation at Oerlikon and the announcement of the first system in North America at the Youngstown Business Incubator / America Makes in Ohio. The company additionally held a booth party honoring two of its executives and well attended by key figures in the industry toasting to the progress.
- Materialise’s introduction of e-Stage Metal, its new solution for metal 3D printing. Company executives noted key advantages to the offering including 20% reduction in powder consumption, a 50% drop in time required for support removal, and a 90% decrease in data preparation time. As they explained, the software was developed around the key principles of cost savings, high quality, and reliability.
- voxeljet’s sharing of its proprietary High Speed Sintering process and work with various materials, including work in ceramics and developments with Johnson Matthey.
- EOS’ unveiling of its newest polymer 3D printing system, the EOS P 500, as well as work with Under Armour to enhance the ArchiTech Futurist shoe and other developments, portfolio offerings, and plans.
- Stratasys’ introduction of GrabCAD Voxel Print, new software that offers close control over the entire design process.
I also caught up again with 3D Systems, having recently visited their Colorado facility to learn more about their latest product announcements; the company is now announcing European availability of its On Demand Manufacturing.
Evening conversations led to some interesting catching up with 3devo, Rize, Polygonica, Sculpteo, BigRep, colleagues throughout the press, and more, as formnext offers a curated environment to network and talk more casually with industry participants.
This show is already a very busy one, and it’s not slowing down as day two kicks off. I’ll be in Frankfurt all week, and would love to catch up; if you’re here, I’m very happy to connect on the floor, via Twitter, or via email. We’ll continue to follow the plethora of announcements arising in 3D printing and keep up with the latest developments in the news and live on social media.
Discuss these announcements and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Photos: Sarah Goehrke]