3D printing aids sustainable mobility


Rapid.Tech 3D 2021 keynote speeches show that additive manufacturing is key to climate-neutral road and air transport

(Erfurt, 24 March 2021). Once again in 2021, Rapid.Tech 3D promises to be a fascinating and high calibre specialist conference. It will take place on 22 and 23 June at the Messe Erfurt Congress Center, and guests will be able to attend both in person and virtually. The keynote speeches will address the conference’s central theme of sustainability, highlighting the challenges and solutions presented by additive manufacturing (AM) in relation to climate-neutral mobility.

In their opening address on 22 June, Ralf Anderhofstadt and Janis Kretz will show that industrial 3D printing is already well on its way. Ralf Anderhofstadt manages the Centre of Competence for 3D Printing at Daimler Buses and the cross-functional 3D printing project at Daimler Truck AG. Janis Kretz is the 3D Printing Digital Supply Chain Manager at the Centre of Competence. The pair will report on the successful introduction of additive manufacturing to the company’s internal processes and on the production of 3D-printed parts for installation in Daimler Truck AG’s Mercedes-Benz and SETRA branded premium buses. “For us, 3D printing means transforming a physical business model into a digital one. We are currently building up our “digital warehouse”, in order to be able to print parts as quickly as possible and ensure that parts are available for our customers,” says Ralf Anderhofstadt, who is also working on legal aspects of additive manufacturing processes for the VDI (Association of German Engineers) and lecturing in additive manufacturing.

“3D printing will be indispensable to the climate-neutral aeroplanes of the future,” says Volker Thum. The Managing Director of the BDLI (German Aerospace Industries Association) will talk about the initial successes of AM and the challenges it presents in relation to aviation in his keynote speech at the start of the second day of the conference. The former Airbus manager, who has 25 years of experience in a variety of senior roles within the group, will stress that, more than almost any other sector, aviation urgently needs to reduce weight. Every kilogram of weight saved reduces CO2 emissions by up to three kilograms – every single day. Ensuring supplies of spare parts at short notice is another challenge. The aviation industry is one of the industries that is best suited to the introduction of topology-optimised and additively manufactured components. The experience of over a decade of this technology demonstrates that it produces smaller and lighter parts that can combine multiple functions. There are a number of reasons for the slow progress with switching from conventional to additive processes, says Thum – above all, the strict safety requirements. A great deal of time and effort needs to be invested in process qualification in order for 3D-printed components to function reliably in the long term. 

The final talk of the Rapid.Tech 3D specialist conference on the afternoon of 23 June will focus on a special case study in the aviation industry. Alexander Altmann from Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH will report on the integration of AM technology into the production of the Boeing 777X folding wing-tip system, using a hydraulic actuator. The case study will illustrate how Liebherr dealt with challenges such as thermal stresses in production, pressure loss during deployment, surface treatment and wear surfaces for titanium actuators. The Head of Additive Manufacturing at Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg will also provide an overview of future technical requirements for the series production of highly integrated components.

The themes of the keynotes will be further explored in relation to specific applications in the Rapid.Tech 3D trade forums. Alongside the popular sessions on AM Science; Automotive & Mobility; Aviation; Medical, Dental & Orthopaedic Technology; Software, Processes & Design; Tool, Model & Mould Making and the Fraunhofer Specialist Additive Manufacturing Area, there will be additional forums on two new subject areas: AM in Construction Engineering & Architecture and News from AM. The conference programme is available at: 


Attractive opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors

In addition to over 60 presentations on a wide range of topics, the conference also offers an accompanying exhibition, an attractive environment where both users and providers of innovative 3D printing solutions can showcase their skills; and the opportunity to get involved with sponsoring “Additive Manufacturers of the Future”. Rapid.Tech 3D has put together attractive packages for face-to-face and virtual presentations, which can be found at the following links: