Nearly 9,000 manufacturing professionals from around the world converged in Detroit for this year’s RAPID + TCT, North America’s most influential additive manufacturing (AM) event. The event, which took place May 20-23, was the largest, most comprehensive offering yet. The show floor spanned 112,200 square feet and hosted a record 434 exhibiting companies, an increase of 27% over the 2018 event.
The first day was filled with AM workshops led by industry leaders, before attendees gathered for the RAPID + TCT 2019 Opening Event, hosted by SME’s AM Technical Community advisors. Erika Berg of Carbon and Vittorio Bologna of Riddell delivered the opening keynote presentation, detailing how the two companies collaborated to create Riddell’s new Diamond helmet, which features a 3D printed lattice liner developed using Carbon’s proprietary Digital Light Synthesis™ technology.
After the keynote, former AM Technical Community Chair Todd Grimm took the stage to explain some of the top new products in 3D printing and scanning and gave attendees a better sense of what they need to see on the show floor. And rounding out the day, winners were announced for the 2019 SME/AM Community Awards, including this year’s Industry Achievement Award winner, Professor Emanuel “Ely” Sachs, Co-Founder & Co-CTO of Desktop Metal, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
To kick off the second day of RAPID + TCT, Bill Taylor delivered an energetic Tuesday morning keynote presentation on “Disruptive Technology and Innovation.” Taylor discussed what it means to be a leader in an age of disruption and uncertainty, telling the crowd to ask themselves the following: What’s your unique definition of success? Do you work as distinctively as you hope to compete? Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?
Day three of RAPID + TCT 2019 started with keynote speaker Dr. Naomi Murray, Director of Additive Technology Solutions at Stryker, discussing how Stryker uses AM methods to create their Tritanium® technology, which has been used in several FDA-cleared orthopedic implants. Standing out among a variety of great workshops and panel discussions was the Women in AM/3D Perspectives Panel. The discussion focused on process and quality control, as well as other automation and data-driven tools used to level up or surpass existing manufacturing processes.
The final day of RAPID + TCT 2019 began with Jennifer Fielding of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Zach Simkin of Senvol announcing the winners of the 2019 AM Community Awards. Digital Alloys was chosen for this year’s Exhibitor Innovation Award and the People’s Choice Award went to Desktop Metal. The last day of RAPID + TCT was also Automotive Day, so it was only fitting that the keynote speaker be one of the industry leaders for AM, Dr. Dominik Rietzel, Head of Additive Manufacturing (Non-Metals) at BMW Group. Rietzel showcased how BMW, an early adopter of AM technologies, is innovating with AM from prototyping to production. Examples include producing foam-like AM prototype parts to mimic actual production parts used in seats and dashboards and allowing consumers to personalize the interior and exterior parts of their MINI that BMW then 3D prints and sends to them.
If you missed the conference, panels, or other presentations at RAPID + TCT 2019, the Digital Package is a great option. For $200, you will have access to select conference presentations, keynotes, thought leadership panels, and more for one year. Details on how to purchase the digital package will be posted soon to rapid3Devent.com.
RAPID + TCT moves to the west coast in 2020, taking place April 20-23 in Anaheim, California, allowing easier access to state-of-the-art additive manufacturing knowledge for industry hubs in the region. Additive manufacturing is growing at a rate of approximately 25 percent per year in California alone, according to the 2018 Wohlers Report. Mark your calendars for next year’s event and sign up to receive event updates here.
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