Over the past eleven years, Rapid.Tech has grown into one of the biggest events in the world for additive manufacturing and 3D printing. This is not least thanks to the unique combination of specialist trade fair and top-class convention with user conference for new technologies, the Design Engineers’ Day and the specialist forums for science, tools, aerospace and medical technology.
The Fraunhofer alliance forum completes the programme of the Erfurt conference and trade fair on the 10 and 11 June 2015. Rapid.Tech offers an outstanding platform for newcomers and experts in this trendsetting technology to exchange scientific and application-specific ideas. The third FabCon 3.D, the 3D printing fair for semi-professional users and prosumers, will be held in parallel to the event.
No other field of technology is developing as rapidly and successfully as additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing. “Additive manufacturing has become a successfully applied manufacturing technology in many industries. And there is scarcely any sector that does not have great hopes that additive processes will produce products faster, more cost-effectively and with greater customisation and less intensive use of resources,” says Wieland Kniffka, CEO of Messe Erfurt. However, this goes hand in hand with changes to established manufacturing and distribution structures, generating an enormous demand for information, as well as for an exchange of experiences and discussion. “The optimised conference structure of Rapid.Tech reflects the dynamic development in additive manufacturing. This connection between the trade fair and conference, between theory and practice, sets standards,” says the head of the trade fair.
A glance at the programme for this year’s event makes this clear. On the agenda are around 80 simultaneously interpreted (German<>English) presentations by high-calibre speakers from countries including the USA, the UK, Sweden and Germany.
The “Vision 3D” keynote session will look at the fundamental shift in manufacturing and distribution from various standpoints and industries. In his keynote, Microsoft manager Adrian Lannin (USA) will discuss the impact of extensive support for 3D printing in Windows for additive manufacturing in existing and emerging market segments. Peter Sander (Airbus Operations GmbH, Hamburg) will cover the opportunities in and challenges facing additive manufacturing for future industrial production. Frank Cooper (Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, GB) will focus on the direct metal laser melting (DMLM) of precious metals. US designer Francis Bitonti will describe the radical change triggered by the “displacing” technology of 3D printing in the fashion and lifestyle industry. Entrepreneur Mario Fleurinck, with his presentation “From globalisation to local production – The potential role of 3D printing in local production”, will show how 3D printing can be further developed successfully and sustainably.
The “New Technologies” user conference and specialist forums on the established themes “Aerospace” and “Medical Technology” and in the new fields of “Science” and “Tools”, as well as the “Design Engineers’ Day”, will then give newcomers and experts in the respective fields the opportunity to find out about the latest developments and applications, to discuss the possibilities for additive processes and to take a look into the future.
User conference – the latest developments and examples of best practice
During the different sessions of the two-day user conference, new applications of 3D printing will be presented, such as personalised meals or the production of packaging from processed miscanthus straw. Long-standing users of additive manufacturing processes will report on their experiences of implementing the technologies in series production.
Additive manufacturing business models in practice in industry and specialist staff for AM – training and further professional development are also subjects up for discussion. Materials, machines and processes for the additive manufacturing of plastic parts and extremely complex metal components will be examined. Next-generation industrial 3D printing systems and a revolutionary precision inkjet technology will be presented as examples of these.
Specialist forum “Aerospace” – additive manufacturing in series production
Despite very strict requirements in certification and safety, the aerospace industry is one of the pioneering sectors when it comes to using additive manufacturing processes in production. The sessions of the two-day specialist forum “Aerospace” will show just how far it has come. For instance, the lightweight construction potential of AM will be demonstrated, using an engine injector as an example. The supply chain potential of additive manufacturing in the area of spare parts supply will also be on the programme.
Processes and new materials for the industrial production of components will be presented. These include the production of electronic equipment using additive layer manufacturing (ALM) and the development of a topologically optimised hinge arm by combining ALM and investment casting. New materials and applications certified for use in aerospace will also be showcased.
Specialist forum “Science” – discover the latest findings first
The specialist forum “Science” has its première at this year’s Rapid.Tech. Over the two days, well-known scientists will present their latest findings and approaches in the field of additive manufacturing. For instance, new metallic materials for beam melting will be presented, among other developments. Also on the agenda is the presentation of a study of optimal process parameter ranges for the processing of commercial and experimental materials in laser sintering. Further sessions are devoted to new plastic materials for laser sintering as well as to increasing the process capability of laser melting and new areas of application.
Specialist forum “Medical Technology” – possibilities and opportunities with AM
Like aerospace, medical technology is one of the leading sectors in additive manufacturing, which is being used in a growing number of applications. A paradigm shift is taking place, from prototyping to industrial production. From customised and series-produced endoprosthetic implants, high-strength bioglasses and bioceramics to patient-specific training models and phantoms for education, research and development – new processes and materials are rapidly expanding the range of applications for additive manufacturing in the medical sector. The forum will also discuss the role of the doctor as the designer of patient-specific implants.
A further topic at the two-day event is the possibilities of industrial 3D nanostructures for medical technology. Quality assurance by means of position-related, real-time monitoring and three-dimensional visualisation in the manufacture of medical products are also included in the programme.
Specialist forum “Tools” – new perspectives for toolmaking
Another new feature will be the “Tools” specialist forum on the 11 June. This will focus on the unlimited design possibilities in toolmaking offered by additive manufacturing. One of the technologies it will showcase can be used to produce tempered tools in new dimensions. A lecture will explore the additive production of tools with intentionally porous structures for tool ventilation in a single manufacturing step. Plate-press soldering will be presented as a combined method for producing large and complex tools.
Design Engineers’ Day – using design freedom skilfully
The Design Engineers’ Day, which takes place on 11 June, will discuss “Rules and methods”, “Potential from structural optimisation” and “Innovative solutions”. Amongst other innovations, a method for systematically calculating measurement tolerances for additive manufacturing processes will be presented. One speaker will explain functional integration by means of selective laser melting, using the example of structurally integrated piezoelectric actuators. The Design Engineers’ Day will also investigate how the lightweight construction potential of secondary structural elements can be gauged. New design freedoms made possible by 3D-printed fibre-reinforced plastics provide a further subject for discussion.
GENERATIV, the forum of the Fraunhofer alliance
On the first day of Rapid.Tech, GENERATIV, the forum of the Fraunhofer alliance, will provide insights into innovative applications. The programme of the first session features speakers on subjects such as the selective laser melting of bioresorbable implants, EBM (electron beam melting) of titanium-aluminium for automotive applications and the additive manufacturing of ceramic and ceramic-metal composites. The second series of presentations addresses the question “Additive manufacturing – fit for production?”. They will examine additive methods in interaction with other manufacturing technologies and the possibilities provided by intelligent process combinations.
Rapid.Tech trade fair – “tangible” innovations
Dovetailing with the conference lectures, the exhibitors of the Rapid.Tech fair will showcase numerous innovations and developments. The exhibitors include companies such as Alcoa Power and Propulsion – TITAL, Blueprinter, Botspot, Coffee Solution, Concept Laser, EOS, Igus, MakerBot Europe and SLM Solutions. In total, around 160 exhibitors are expected this year.
In parallel to Rapid.Tech on 10/11 June, Messe Erfurt will also host the third FabCon 3.D trade fair for semi-professional users and prosumers in 3D printing.
More information about Rapid.Tech and FabCon 3.D, including the complete programme for the user conference, the Design Engineers’ Day and specialist forums, can be found at www.rapidtech.de and www.fabcon-germany.com.