3D printing showcase opens again


Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D open to visitors until 7 June 2018 – awards presented to best start-ups — bioprinting expert Cellbricks takes first prize

The 3D printing industry is back in Erfurt for the 15th Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D, where 208 exhibitors from 14 countries are presenting the latest additive technologies and products from now until 7 June. Alongside this event, visitors also have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise at a world class specialist conference with renowned presenters from industry and science. Advance sales for the conference reached a record 2,800 tickets this year. In her welcoming address, Valentina Kerst, Secretary of State at the Thuringian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Science and Digital Society, emphasised Thuringia’s role as a showcase for new ideas and for the ongoing development of innovative 3D printing technologies. She hailed it as a place where the future happened and then spread out across the world.

Dr. Dominik Rietzel from the BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Center set the bar high right from the start of the conference with his keynote speech “AM on the Road”. He explained how the automotive manufacturer developed its first additively manufactured prototypes as early as 1990 and has been working on projects for series production since 2010. A recent result can be seen at the trade fair. The BMW i8 Roadster has an additively manufactured mounting for its top cover that has been in series production since this year. BMW is also using 3D printing to satisfy individual customer requirements, for example with the MINI Yours Customised product programme, which allows customised components to be quickly produced and then easily installed by MINI drivers themselves in the interior or on the indicators. Examples of this are also on display in Erfurt. Dr. Rietzel came to Rapid.Tech for the first time ten years ago and has returned every year since. “At first I came as a scientist, now I’m a representative of industry. This combination of research and application, conference and trade fair, is unique to Erfurt and attracts large numbers of visitors”, he said.

This was already evident on the morning of the first day from the visitors streaming into the fully-booked exhibition hall 2. Numerous veteran exhibitors and some distinguished newcomers are presenting their additive manufacturing (AM) innovations here. GE Additive is making its first appearance as an exhibitor in Erfurt with its portfolio of metal melting machines, which the company supplies to the aviation industry. Also celebrating their trade fair débuts are printer manufacturer HP and the AM automation solutions partner, Bosch Rexroth. Trumpf is on hand again with its latest assortment of scalable technology solutions for 3D printing metal components of all sizes. And the FIT AG stand is a clear demonstration of the fact that that additive manufacturing is growing in the truest sense of the word. The service provider for industrial additive manufacturing is overcoming size limitations through the use of wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) and is using this additive welding procedure to produce large-volume metal parts.

The young Polish start-up SinterIT is presenting a world-first innovation in Erfurt: its Lisa 2 SLS machine for desktops, considered by 3D printing experts to be one of the most cost-effective options on the market. SinterIT is a shining example of how an appearance at FabCon 3.D can promote company development. In 2016, the company won the fair’s Start-Up Award, which attracted the attention of potential partners. Since that time FIT AG, a member of the trade fair’s Advisory Board, has been investing in the company.

This year, the winner of the Erfurt Start-Up Award is Berlin-based Cellbricks GmbH. The company won over the jury with its bioprinting process for generating human tissue, which thus also contributes to the elimination of animal testing. Second place was awarded to AMendate from Paderborn for its software for creating topology-optimised components with bionic structures. Third place went to Kumovis GmbH from Taufkirchen, which has developed a new 3D printer that enables cost-effective processing of high-performance plastics for medical use. The Belgian company Aerosint earned a “special mention” for its multi-material printer for SLS processes.

Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D has another highlight in store when it continues tomorrow (6 June 2018). The second day of the event is being opened by a 3D printing pioneer: Scott Crump. He is the inventor of Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), a technology now used in 90 per cent of all 3D printers worldwide. As the Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys, Scott Crump focuses on developing, fostering and implementing new ideas that customers can use to achieve maximum design freedom and flexibility in production. His talk in Erfurt will present current examples of various applications, and will also address the future direction of Stratasys and additive manufacturing in general. Other events tomorrow include the Users Conference and the following forums: AM Science, Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology, 3D-printed Electronics & Functionality and 3D Metal Printing. The 3D Printing Conference will continued. A highpoint of the evening event will be the awards for the most innovative design ideas in the 3D Pioneers Challenge as well as presentations to mark the 15th anniversary of Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D.


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Picture I press tour with State Secretary Valentina Kerst and Messe Erfurt CEO Michael Kynast

Picture II press tour with State Secretary Valentina Kerst and Messe Erfurt CEO Michael Kynast

Picture III press tour with State Secretary Valentina Kerst and Messe Erfurt CEO Michael Kynast

Trade show I

Trade show II

Trade show III

Trade show IV

Trade show V

Trade show VI

Winner of the Start-Up-Award 2018 (left to right) AMendate (Berlin, 2nd place), Cellbricks (Paderborn, 1st place), Kumovis (Taufkirchen, 3rd place)